Further Reading

The dire Club of Rome predictions for our terrestrial future are discussed by j. Forrester in World Dynamics (Wright-Allen Press, Cambridge, MA, 1971). Gerard O'Neill's response is discussed in his High Frontier (Morrow, New York, 1977).

Many authors have worked off O'Neill's grand scheme. In The Fertile Stars (Everest House, New York, 1981), Brian O'Leary presents the case for mining near-Earth asteroids and comets rather than the Moon, to provide a space resource base.

If you are interested in the Stanford Torus, consult Space Settlements: A Design study, a 1977 NASA report (NASA SP-413), which was edited by R.D. johnson.


I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the Moon, The golden apples of the Sun.

William Butler Yeats, from The Song of Wandering Aengus

THE challenge is daunting, it is perhaps the greatest challenge the human race will ever experience. Sending a spacecraft to a nearby star is not as "simple" as sending one to another of the nine planets in our solar system—a feat, by the way, that we have not yet achieved. (Pluto has not yet been explored, though a mission to do so dubbed, "New Horizons", is on its way to that distant planet.) Why is it so challenging? The simple answer is distance—distances so vast that they cannot be easily comprehended; distances so large that we have to invent new units of measure in order to even readily discuss them.

Before attempting to discuss how humanity might traverse the chasm between the stars, we should discuss the tremendous distances right here in our own solar system. These are the roads we must conquer before we can really make a serious attempt to go to other systems.

Earthly and Understandable Units of

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