How do we go about crafting a spacefaring civilization? Nick Nielsen has been exploring the issues involved in terms of the choices cultures make and their conception of their future.
Some years ago I wrote The Infrastructure Problem (2014), in which I touched upon the different spacefaring infrastructure architectures that would result from different admixtures of scientific research, technological development, and practicable engineering. Some years after I revisited some of these themes in The Return of the Space Settlement Vision (2017), especially the difference between the minimal space development architecture of Zubrin and Musk, and the maximal space development architecture of Wernher von Braun, Gerard K. O’Neill, and Bezos. These are the two most obvious alternative architectures for space development, but not the only two possibilities; in what follows I will inquire into the possibilities for qualitatively distinct space development as this development reflects the priorities of the society that designs, funds, and builds space infrastructure.
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