Left: Topanga Elementary School night sky gazing on the ball field at the Community House
Above: The craters and ridges of the moon in 3-D!
October 13, 2023
On Sunday evening, Sept. 24, family members of the Topanga Elementary TK class set up some very fine telescopes on the ball field at the Community House. My son, Ben LaBrot, was manning a scope aimed at the moon. It is such a thrill to lay your eye over a viewfinder and, suddenly, see the craters and ridges of the moon three dimensionally. Andâ€¦ it is always a thrill to see, among the beautiful children, the ones that donâ€™t just peek and run, but the ones that stand riveted and enchanted as they fall in love with space.
The National Space Society (NSS) believes the future of humanity lies in space. Space holds virtually limitless amounts of energy and raw materials, from Helium-3 fuel on the Moon for clean fusion reactors, to heavy metals and volatile gases from the asteroids, which can be harvested for use on Earth and in space. The vision of the NSS is â€śpeople living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.â€ť Their mission is â€śto expand civilization beyond Earth, to settle space and to use the resulting resources to build a hopeful and prosperous future for humanity.â€ť
A Little History
The idea of colonizing space has been around since man first started contemplating the stars. While teaching physics at Princeton, Gerard Oâ€™Neill, became interested in the possibility that humans could survive and live in outer space. He researched and proposed a futuristic idea for human settlement in space, the Oâ€™Neill Cylinder, in â€śThe Colonization of Space,â€ť his first paper on the subject. He formed a group called L5 and held a conference on space manufacturing at Princeton in 1975.
At the same time, the National Space Institute was a space advocacy group established by Dr. Wernher von Braun to help maintain the publicâ€™s support for the United States space program. The two groups merged to later become the National Space Society. This is a citizen-supported group with members that have included scientists and celebrities, including John Denver, Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Bob Hope, Gene Rodenberry (Star Trek originator) and astronauts like Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman and John Glenn.
Have their dreams come true? Just a few days ago, on Sept. 26, American astronaut Frank Rubio and two Russian cosmonauts returned to Earth after living for a year in space at the International Space Station. You canâ€™t say there hasnâ€™t been progress on the idea of colonizing space! Baby steps, but real steps, my friends!
From Low Earth Orbit To Beyond
Dale Skran, VP of the NSS. writes, â€śSpace itself teems with valuable resources, including continuous and abundant solar energy and mineral wealth on a scale beyond imagination just in the near Earth asteroidsâ€¦. The US Congress has laid the legal groundwork for asteroid and lunar mining with the passage of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, signed by President Obama on November 23, 2015â€¦. Leadership at Google, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, are investors in the asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources.â€ť Can you believe while you are trying to put dinner on the table for your families all this is going on?