Dr. Freeman Dyson
Department of Physics
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Dear Dr. Dyson,
About a week ago I read Kenneth Brower's biography of you and your son
and found myself highly interested in your ideas. I doubt that Dyson Spheres
will be constructed in my lifetime by creatures in this biosphere, but perhaps some of us could set up something on asteroids or comets
in a couple of decades . . .
As I see it, there are currently three possible environments for settlement: the sea, Antarctica
, and Space, in ascending order of preference. Building ocean settlements
strikes me as risky because we would probably be close enough to land to be controlled by various overwater interests. We're still at the bottom of a gravity well, down which fall canisters of radioactive wastes
, industrial byproducts and the effluvium of toilets. It seems unfortunate to have to trust in other people to keep our environment uncontaminated what that trust has been so far without ground (dry or otherwise). Antarctica seems an order of magnitude better. It's remote; we could get out of sight of military bases
pretty quickly and settle down with penguins
. We certainly wouldn't have a gravity well problem
on one of the 16,000 foot mountains. Antarctica would be a perfect place to set up a space launch site
without strings. (And if we can fuel up with ice . . .) There's even air around to play with; it would be a good jumping-off place. On the other hand, if we didn't jump off within a century or so we'd probably be jumped on by nations looking for new material to exploit. Antarctica would also be rather dull compared to space. I won't be so condescending as to tell you what I think the advantages of space are; you've probably thought of it more than I have.
So . . .
Are we working on another version of Orion
? Do you have any new plans? (Brower sort of left all that hanging.) What about finances, or the bone-calcium problem
? Have you planned out any directions for the society up there, or would you leave it to evolve by itself?
You see, Dr. Dyson, I'd really like to come along. And I have a couple of friends who might be interested. None of us are brilliant physics or engineering minds (I'm eighteen, puttering with differential equations and may stop there as far as math is concerned), but I wouldn't say we're worthless either. What sort of preparation would you suggest; how can we help make the whole thing happen?