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Solar System Resources Essential to Saving Earth,
Professor Matloff Explains in New Book
The critical role that space exploration and development will play in the survival of Earth is the focus of Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth, a new book co-authored by City Tech Physics Professor Gregory L. Matloff.
Dr. Matloff and his co-author Les Johnson look at how resolving the environmental challenges that confront Earth will depend on more than conservation and the application of current and emerging planet-based energy and other technologies. Johnson is deputy manager of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“Paradise Regained,” says Matloff, “was written to advance public awareness and understanding of the critical role that the exploration and development of space will play in both the short- and long-term survival of humankind and a planet that is rapidly exhausting its resources. We must turn to the heavens – and as soon as possible – so we may begin solving some of the very real ecological and energy problems we face.”
Published by Springer Science & Business Media, with a retail price of $27.50, the book is the latest in a series of works on the space sciences by Matloff and Johnson.
Anything but a “doomsday” scenario, this visionary work outlines in a positive, straightforward manner how space resources and space-based power generating systems can work synergistically with Earth-based conservation to enable us to meet our projected industrial needs and forge a prosperous and sustainable future.
“With an ever-increasing share of the human population making the transition to the ‘developed’ world,” says Johnson, “will come increasing stress on the Earth’s environment, natural resources, and ability to produce enough food. The modern environmental movement is tackling these problems head-on by promoting energy efficiency, recycling and renewable resources. While these strategies and technologies are vital, they will be woefully insufficient to provide for a prosperous, long-lived global society with a moderate-to-high standard of living.”
According to Matloff, the solution to a progressively worsening environmental situation and its negative impact on society will require “drawing upon the vast energy and material resources that space alone can provide. Doing so will enable us to create a cleaner, healthier environment essential to sustaining life on Earth far into the future.”
Johnson notes that space is infinitely rich in untapped resources. “They are all around us – we merely have to move a few hundred kilometers straight up into space to access them. Once there, a literal universe of energy, raw materials and real estate is the province of humanity.”
Matloff and Johnson make a compelling case for utilizing the gifts that our sun and solar system offer for the taking. Among these steps are developing the ability to maneuver asteroids into near-Earth orbits for the purpose of mining them for their mineral-rich resources. To reduce pollution, we could relocate our heavy manufacturing operations to similar near-Earth objects. We could create a system of in-space satellites around the planet that beam vast amounts of the sun’s radiant energy directly to receivers on the surface.
“Achieving such goals,” says Matloff, “will take time and necessitate reordering our priorities. They do not constitute a quick fix, but must be implemented as expeditiously as possible. We are running out of time and must get very serious about these and related matters. We must begin to view time as perhaps our most valuable and rapidly diminishing resource.”
The chapter frontispieces for Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth were created by artist C Bangs whose works are included in public and private collections worldwide as well as in books and journals. She has often created the artwork for Matloff’s books.
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