Revised: March 2012
One of the major environmental concerns of our time is the increasing consumption of Earth's resources to sustain our way of life. As more and more nations make the climb up from agricultural to industrial nations, their standard of life will improve, which will mean that more and more people will be competing for the same resources. While NASA spinoffs and other inventions can allow us to be more thrifty with Earth's resources, we nevertheless must come to grips with the problem that humanity is currently limited to one planet.
Space colonies could be the answer to this problem, if we can solve the medical problems posed by microgravity (also called weightlessness) and the high levels of radiation to which the astronauts would be exposed after leaving the protection of the Earth's atmosphere. The colonists would mine the Moon and the minor planets and build beamed power satellites that would supplement or even replace power plants on the Earth. The colonists could also take adavantage of the plentiful raw materials, unlimited solar power, vaccuum, and microgravity in other ways to create products that we cannot while inside the cocoon of Earth's atmosphere and gravity. In addition to potentially replacing our current Earth-polluting industries, these colonies may also help our environment in other ways. Since the colonists would inhabit completely isolated manmade environments, they would refine our knowledge of the Earth's ecology.
This vision, which was purely science fiction for years and years, caught the imagination of the public in the Seventies, leading to the establishment of the organization known today as the National Space Society. You may also find useful resources in our pages on the International Space Station, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and Near-Earth Objects, The Future of Space Exploration, and Nuclear Power in Outer Space.
All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: Call x0168 or email Library@hq.nasa.gov for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public: Contact your local library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.
- Harris, Philip Robert. Space Enterprise: Living and Working Offworld in the 21st Century. Berlin; New York: Chichester, UK: In association with Praxis Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 9780387776392
- TL795.7 .H38 2009 BOOKSTACKS
- Krone, Robert M. Beyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Space. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2006. ISBN: 1894959418
- TL795.7 .B49 2006 BOOKSTACKS
- OECD International Futures Programme. Space 2030: Exploring the Future of Space Applications. Paris, France: OECD, 2004. ISBN: 9264020322
- T174 .S63 2004 BOOKSTACKS
- O'Neill, Gerard K. The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2000. ISBN: 189652267X
- TL795.7 .O53 2000 BOOKSTACKS
- Note: This edition comes with a CD-ROM of additional resources.
- Rouge, Joseph D. Space-based Solar Power as an Opportunity for Strategic Security: Phase O Architecture Feasibility Study: Report to the Director, National Security Space Office, Interim Assessment, release 0.1. Arlington, VA: National Security Space Office, 2007.
- TK1545 .S633 2007 BOOKSTACKS
- Schmitt, Harrison H. Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space. New York, NY: Copernicus Books, in association with Praxis Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 9780387242859
- TL799 .M6 S34 2006 BOOKSTACKS
- Schrunk, David G., et al. The Moon: Resources, Future Development, and Settlement. Berlin; New York: Springer; Chichester, UK: Published in association with Praxis Pub., 2008. ISBN: 9780387360553
- QB 582.5 .S37 2008 BOOKSTACKS
- Tumlinson, Rick, and Erin Medlicott (eds.). Return to the Moon. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2005. ISBN: 1894959329
- TL799 .M6 R48 2005 BOOKSTACKS
- Wingo, Dennis. Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2004. ISBN: 1894959108
- QB582.5 .W56 2004 BOOKSTACKS
- The e-book listed below is available to the general public through the National Academies Press.
- Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space. Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era. 2011 ISBN: 978-0-309-16384-2
- The e-book listed below is available to the general public through the International Academy of Astronautics.
- Mankins, John C. (ed.). Space Solar Power, The First International Assessment Of Space Solar Power: Opportunities, Issues And Potential Pathways Forward. 2011 ISBN: 978-2-917761-11-3
- Currieri, Peter A. "A Minimized Technological Approach towards Human Self Sufficiency off Earth", in: Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) Conference, Albuquerque, NM, Feb. 11-15, 2007.
- (20070032685: (Nov. 2007) NTRS)
- __________. "Optimized O'Neill/Glaser Model for Human Population of Space and its Impact on Survival Probabilities", in: Earth and Space 2010 Conference, Honolulu, HI, March 14-17, 2010.
- (20100017094: (May 2010) NTRS)
- __________., and Michael Detweiler. "Habitat Size Optimization of the O'Neill - Glaser Economic Model for Space Solar Satellite Production", in: Space Manufacturing 14: Critical Technologies for Space Settlement Conference, Mountain View, CA, Oct. 30-31, 2010.
- (20100041325: (April 2011) NTRS)
- Johnson, Chris. "Inflatable Structures: Test Results and Development Progress Since TransHab", in: Annual Technical Symposium 2006, Houston, TX, May 19, 2006.
- (20060022083: (Sept. 2006) NTRS)
- Landis, Geoffrey A. "Reinventing the Solar Power Satellite", NASA/TM-2004-212743, in: 53rd International Astronautical Congress, Houston, TX, Oct. 10-19, 2002.
- (20040045153: (Oct. 2005) NTRS)
- Purves, Lloyd R. "Use of a Lunar Outpost for Developing Space Settlement Technologies", in: AIAA Space 2008 Conference, San Diego, CA, Sept. 9-11, 2008.
- (20080041557: (Nov. 2008) NTRS)
- Townsend, Ivan I., et al. "Performance of Regolith Feed Systems for Analog Field Tests of In-Situ Resource Utilization Oxygen Production Plants in Mauna Kea, Hawaii", in: Proceedings of the 40th Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium, NASA/CP-2010-216272, Cocoa Beach, FL, May 12-14, 2010.
- (20100021942: (June 2010) NTRS)
- Smitherman, David V., Jr. "Pathways to Colonization", in: Space Technology and Applications International Forum
(STAIF) Conference, Albuquerque, NM, Feb. 2-6, 2003.
- (20030062017: (Aug. 2008) NTRS)
- Globus, Dr. Ruth. Space Settlements. Jan. 24, 2012 [March 8, 2012].
- Goodell, Anthony. In Situ Resource Utilization. Sept. 26, 2011 [March 8, 2012].
- Mars Society. 2012 [March 12, 2012].
- The Moon Society. Sept. 10, 2011. [March 12, 2012].
- National Space Society. Space Settlement Nexus. 2011. [March 8, 2012].
- This is an online archive of scanned documents and books, many of which are out of print.
- Space Frontier Foundation. 2012 [March 12, 2012].
- Space Studies Institute. Dec. 28, 2011 [March 8, 2012].