Space Colonies

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In the mid-1970s, the U.S. State Department prohibited the internal use of the term “space colony,” due to the global bad reputation of colonialism. Instead, the government opted for “space settlement.” Of course, as Stewart Brand pointed out at the time, the last thing you do in space is settle. Quite the opposite! Making the…

Picnics in Space

In 1976, NASA Administrator James Fletcher noted that “The question, ‘What is feasible?’ can be finally answered only by future historians.” He was talking about the elaborate plans for space habitats the agency had spent a summer noodling over, but the same remark could have been made to the incredulous before the first moon landing,…