Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Breaking Free At Last

The airwaves are filled with “processed news”. The internet has made it a lot better – now we get to choose our news. But even the internet has missed a great story. It is the coming revolution in exploration - the day when we finally commit ourselves as humans to leave the cradle - the day when we lay our blankies down and boldly slip on down to the floor for our first walk around the house while mom and dad are still sleeping. It may not sound like a big deal - but it really is.

I’ll try and make it easy to see all at once by a single fact: humans have never left the dry land for a permanent life anywhere else. Space station MIR fell in the ocean. The ISS looks more and more iffy and unappreciated every day. The Apollo moon bases were more like camping trips. The Aquarius habitat is on and off. While mankind has attempted a few one-shot-deals and tried to man his outposts for longer periods, no one has boldly made the commitment to go and stay and not come back. No one. Ever. But it is coming – and soon.
I am going to predict that the first permanent steps away from the dry land will be into the oceans. One of these days – and soon – someone is going to announce the first permanent human manned presence in the ocean and mean it. On that day, man will have taken his first infant steps into an alien frontier.
Why do I predict the oceans? Because we have all the technology in hand and it will be relatively easy and affordable. Why have we not done it yet? Well dear readers, in my mind, that is one of the most perplexing mysteries of human behavior I have ever encountered. It makes no sense to me and never has. We easily have the resources to do this. We have the reason. We have the experience. But unlike the quest for space, humankind has never managed to piece together a quest to populate the oceans. But it’s coming. It is inevitable. And when it happens, a new revolution will begin.
I started a group in 1989 to make this happen. It was (and still is) called the League of the New Worlds. It is incorporated in the state of Florida and it is an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit scientific research organization. At that time, the League set out to build the Challenger Station – the largest undersea habitat ever built and place it smack in the middle of the Gulf Stream just off Ft. Pierce, Florida. We worked very hard to get funding and assembled a top notch team. It just never came together. The good news is: the League is still alive and well and the plan is not dead. Undersea colonies are on the way.
Next time I’ll let you in on how we will take the first steps off dry land. It’s way past time, you know. Think of it this way – humanity has been weaned, but we stubbornly cling to our dry- land- crib, still too timid to slip out and not come back. Well – it’s time we did. Humanity is fully capable of sleeping in the big-boy’s bed now.