SPACE :: Our Vision

Human spaceflight has so far been, at most, a succession of forays - That is: astronauts leave the Earth's surface, travel to some destination, stay for a very limited time and then return to Earth as quickly as possible. This "foray mentality" has not brought us very far. No human has yet traveled in interplanetary space. The long-term challenges of prolonged zero gravity, and long-term radiation exposure in the interplanetary environment are still not completely understood. Moreover the foray approach imposes crippling costs on space transport since every vehicle must both deliver people to a destination and return them as quickly as possible.

Progress toward a space-faring society, requires a habitation paradigm. One travels to a destination with the intent to stay for an indefinite period. (This does not imply that the means for return are not provided, just that the stay can be prolonged.) One's efforts are directed toward the permanent human habitation of worlds or stations outside the Earth. In the space faring and inhabiting society, people will work and learn and raise children, and their children will, in turn, learn and work and raise children of their own so that someday, their descendents will travel to the stars.

This habitation paradigm raises compelling issues for the future direction of human space exploration. The aim of the Scientific Preparatory Academy for Cosmic Explorers (SPACE) is to stimulate fresh thinking on how the new paradigm would change our institutional arrangements, educational practices and technological developments in pursuit of space exploration.

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Image: Courtesy of NASA'S Space Colony Art from the 1970s