Will space be the place for the next major government infrastructure projects? Lincoln built the Transcontinental Railroad. Roosevelt’s New Deal built the Grand Coulee, Hoover and Tennessee Valley Authority Dams. These authors think space will be where Obama build his great infrastructure projects.
Lincoln and railroads, Obama and RLVs? by Taylor Dinerman
In the years before the Civil War politicians in Washington fought a series of bitter battles over the Transcontinental Railroad. The Southerners fought for a southern route that would enrich and further empower their slave-based economy and the North rejected this. The war settled the question and the Pacific Railroad Act was signed by President Lincoln on July 1, 1862. Six years later the job was finished and California was connected to the East Coast. The nation was now an economic as well as a political whole.
Since the late 1980s the US government has been unable to find a way to develop a new low-cost vehicle that will put payloads into orbit. The travails of the DC-X, the X-33, the X-37, the Orbital Space Plane, and other programs have been as frustrating to serious advocates of space exploration and settlement as the congressional battles of the 1850s must have been to the Californians of that age.
Solution: Energy From Space by Ralph Nansen
When Grand Coulee Dam rose on the Columbia River during the Great Depression, it not only employed thousands of people but also provided an abundant source of cheap energy for the Pacific Northwest, ushering in a long era of economic prosperity for the region. As we now confront an economic crisis approaching the scope of the Great Depression, we are also forced to confront the severe consequences of our addiction to finite fossil fuel resources.
Solution: Energy from Space presents a bold solution for the problems we face today: dependence on oil as our primary energy source, global climate change caused by the proliferation of carbon dioxide, and the threat of wars over diminishing oil supplies. It explores how our energy situation is driving these major world problems, and how developing energy from space could bring unprecedented economic prosperity and opportunity to the world, just as Grand Coulee Dam did for the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s.