It should be read by all who would understand the impact of advancing technology on life in the next century. He graduated from Swarthmore College in , and received a doctorate in physics from Cornell University in That year he joined the faculty of Princeton University, which he remained associated with until his death in In he invented the storage ring technique for colliding particle beams. His studies on the colonization of space began in as a result of undergraduate teaching at Princeton. In , he founded the Space Studies Institute, an organization that continues today to fund research in space manufacturing and resources.
He believed in the power of individuals carving out pockets of life in a largely dead Solar System, and he basically told us how to do it… — from the back cover Comments on previous editions of The High Frontier: The initial colonies would be rotating spheres and the equatorial regions would have centrifugal force to feel like gravity.
Later colonies would be rotating cylinders. The materials would be obtained by mining the moon and asteroids for raw materials. These raw materials would be launched into space using a mass driver. The book also has some letters written from the perspective of people living in the various colonies. The book was written before the space shuttle program and it's relative failure and is wildly optimistic about what the space shuttle will be capable of.
The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space
It's interesting that the ideas proposed are not physically impossible. It's not completely implausible. Indeed, given the appropriate economic drivers such structures seem like they would be possible. The economics described that O'Neil thinks will drive people toward such colonies have been shown to be completely wrong. The s fears of overpopulation have not come to pass. Space has also not been found to have the economic uses that O'Neill envisaged.
O'Neill thought that zero gravity manufacturing would have a lot of applications. O'Neil also saw on the reasons for space colonies as being to create Space Solar Power Stations that would beam energy to earth. The book is a little like the book on Project Orion, the story of the proposed nuclear explosive powered spacecraft. It shows that with real physical constraints space exploration and colonisation is possible. Jun 23, Stan McCown rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: O'Neill was a physicist with a number of innovations to his credit.
O'Neill foresaw space colonies as a way to create a new industrial zone off the planet, using materials available fr Gerard K. O'Neill foresaw space colonies as a way to create a new industrial zone off the planet, using materials available from the moon and asteroids, the development of which would have several benefits, from allowing the reduction of pollution within the atmosphere for all those industries that could be produced in space, to increasing the real wealth of civilization by the addition of raw materials from off the planet, and even to providing housing for more and more of the world's population, over time.
Colonies would even serve as a basis for the forward movement of the human race into the solar system and beyond. The solar power satellites that would first power the construction of the early colonies would ring the planet and soon begin also to add a major new source of electricity for the entire world that was virtually free of pollution. O'Neill's work was ground breaking and this book, which was designed to popularize the idea of colonies in space, became the "bible" for those who believed in expanding the human race off the planet and permanently into space.
Certainly when the time comes that the human race begins to establish permanent habitats in space, a blueprint will exist in the form of O'Neill's ideas. Jul 07, Checkman rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Books like this are so sad in some respects. O'Neill wasn't alone in the seventies. There were other writers Jerry Pournelle comes to mind right off the bat and scientists who were arguing the same case. They knew that after the Apollo program had ended the drive to get Humanity into space had also ended. It's an optomistic book, but rather sad considering what has or hasn't happened since it was originally published in I've always been a fan of space exploration and a long time fan of Books like this are so sad in some respects.
I've always been a fan of space exploration and a long time fan of science-fiction as well. But many years ago I came to accept the fact that despite are huge leaps in technology I will probably never see Humanity do more than wade into space in ankle deep water. O'Neill shows how we could have done it thirty-six years ago, but evidently nobody read his book except for enthusiastic space buffs. Maybe my grandkids will see more. I don't pretend to have all the answers and I'm not going to point fingers.
Space exploration is expensive and resources are limited. Perhaps if the Chinese make a concerted effort to get boots on the moon and Mars we'll see other nations get motivated again. Well nevertheless it's a good book.
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A nod to What If????? Anyone with an interest in space. This book is a superb look at the possibilities of establishing space colonies and the many benefits that could ensue from doing so. The benefits could potentially solve many of the big problems facing mankind especially renewable energy using solar power satellites and, in the long run, climate change and over population. The book was written in , but the proposals were achievable with the technolo This book is a superb look at the possibilities of establishing space colonies and the many benefits that could ensue from doing so.
The book was written in , but the proposals were achievable with the technologies then available. I first read this book in paperback about 30 years ago and was excited then with the prospects of this happening soon. However, economic and political realities have intervened so that the starting point is still in the future. Perhaps the time is right in the near future now that the commercial space industry has started up and with kick-starts like the Ansari X-Prize and the Google Lunar X-Prize.
Thus, the proposals outlined in this book might be more readily achieved with the newer technologies developed in the commercial world than in the stop-start government space programs. Sep 03, Matthew Monsoor rated it it was amazing.
The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space - Wikipedia
This got me started in being an avocate for moving industry off the planet and locating it in various "zones" called Lagrangian Points. These are stable locations related to where the Earth, Moon, and possibly the Sun and where the gradational attraction balances. Colonizing the Moon first for minerals needed for manufacturing, start collecting asteroids between Mars and Jupiter also for minerals needed for manufacturing.
Once enough material is manufactured on the moon its transported to one of This got me started in being an avocate for moving industry off the planet and locating it in various "zones" called Lagrangian Points. Once enough material is manufactured on the moon its transported to one of the Lagrangian Points, L5 being the most stable, begin to build both a living and manufacturing facility.
There are various designs in the book and after reading this I look up and found the report which NASA published from a study Gerard O'Neill participated. As you will find out in the beginning, the book is a result from multiple years of giving his students the same problem as a classroom study. This book is a result of this study. A prescient book, looking ahead to the time when humanity starts to explore and settle other parts of the solar system. O'Neill does a great job of explaining the technological problems and some practical solutions, showing that people could start this expansion from Earth with current technology.
As we look at the challenges and issues of global climate change and the damage to the environment produced by a lot of our industries and technologies, I believe it's looking smarter every day for hum A prescient book, looking ahead to the time when humanity starts to explore and settle other parts of the solar system.
As we look at the challenges and issues of global climate change and the damage to the environment produced by a lot of our industries and technologies, I believe it's looking smarter every day for humanity not to have all our eggs in this one basket that we seem to be working hard to wreck. This decades-old book is inspiring, pragmatic, and fascinating. Jan 29, Fabian rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book definitely belongs to this decade: O'Neil makes a strong case for the why of space colonisation.
Why struggle down on Earth when endless resources are available in space? They would, in a matter of decades, let us relief our home planet of our excessive footprint. He also details the how, based on existing technologies at the time of wri This book definitely belongs to this decade: He also details the how, based on existing technologies at the time of writing. This book is a full business plan for space colonisation. An important reading for a new look at our current crises. Needs a new edition! If read when it was published, this book would be awesome.
I liked the diagrams and the detail of how to bootstrap such an effort. Reading from a 21st century perspective, it would be good to get an update on a the tech, and b the timelines suggested by the book. It could also have been structured more cleanly, and I felt the author was a bit naive about the fragility of habitats - not versus nature, but versus aggressors. May 31, Dan rated it really liked it. With Apollo-era can-do spirit, O'Neill convincingly shows how we can mine oxygen on the moon, beam solar power back to earth, build colonies in high earth orbit, and homestead the asteroids, all using s era technology.
He promises we'll be living in Island One at L5 orbit by , at the latest. A fun book for space nerds.
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The definitive book on giant space colony design. Jan 30, Ben Vogel rated it it was amazing. I read this as a kid. This should be happening by now. I'm a bit pissed off that the promising future of men walking on the moon which I watched as a toddler has not only failed to emerge, it seems we have regressed. Mankind's future isn't here on earth, and we are in trouble if we continue to hold all of our eggs in one basket.
Jan 02, Patricia Green rated it really liked it. This book is elderly, but it is full of so much hope and promise that I just loved it. I write sci-fi-type stuff and got so much inspiration from it. The details are excellent, and there are enough pictures that even some difficult concepts are illustrated well.
I highly recommend "The High Frontier" to people who are into the real details about how humans can make space work for them. Jan 06, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: Loved the artwork, and the clever idea of suggesting that placement of solar energy collecting satellites would be the reason for a moon colony, and that the money from this enterprise would fund further space colonies. Also the idea that it would be cheaper to build the colonies in space, and the idea for the mass accelerator. Aug 03, Edward Smith rated it it was amazing. Probably the biggest advocate of space colonization with one of the most detailed plans for human settlements in space.
If everyone in NASA and space exploration in general were as passionate and brilliant as O'Neill was, then his slogan of "L5 in '95" would be a reality by now. Nuts And Bolts The author explains the nuts and bolts of creating a colony in space that would orbit the Earth. He's seems to have thought everything from growing food to feed the colonist to creating electricity to power the colony. Nice vision -- but it didn't quite play out as he thought. Regardless, it's great to soak up some of the displayed optimism. Dec 13, Adam Weber rated it really liked it. Overly optimistic view of human expansion beyond earth.
Oct 08, Brent Werness rated it really liked it Shelves: A classic in future space thought! Sep 10, John Barazzuol rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the bible of space colonization dreamers. I've loaned it out and recovered it and kept it at my bedside. Great book if your a futurist like me. Somewhat sad that we are still so far away from realizing its vision. Interesting also for being a speculative science book without being science fiction. Nov 13, Claire Botman rated it it was amazing. Hugely inspiring, but so depressing when you realise just how little progress we've made.
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