28 December 2007

Ocean Planet: Time to Go Home?

While the larger part of Earth's surface is covered by ocean, almost all of the human inhabitants of the planet huddle together on 6 of the 7 continents and assorted islands. What excuses are humans waiting for, before they will move out onto mother ocean?

Cloudmaking ships:
Sunlight heats the planet, but puffy, low-flying clouds reflect sunlight. So to reduce global temperatures, National Center for Atmospheric Research physicist John Latham and Edinburgh University engineer Stephen Salter want to make clouds.

In October, Latham explained his vision for a fleet of unmanned, self-propelled vessels crossing the world's oceans and seeding clouds by misting seawater high into the air. Just a thousand ships would offset temperature rises resulting from a global CO2 doubling, Latham said. He and Salter recently joined with climate-modeling guru Phil Rasch to determine the ships' potential to upset weather systems, including rainfall. "Questions like that have to be answered first," Latham said. "But I'm much more confident than I was a year ago." Source

Floating cities can serve as offshore tax havens, financial centers, retirement meccas, tourist destinations, marine and atmospheric science research core facilities, international centers for advanced medical treatments, and more. A floating seastead could cultivate its own fisheries in mid-ocean, via undersea infrastructure creating artificial reefs.

Ocean thermal energy conversion provides electric power, fresh water, and water cooling/air conditioning on a large scale. OTEC combined with aeroponic agriculture would supply a seastead with ample power, fresh food, fresh water, and indoor climate control. The nutrient-rich deep ocean water would encourage plankton growth, which would allow fisheries and aquaculture to flourish.

Ocean Space Launch
Launching spacecraft from mid-ocean avoids many serious complications of a failed launch. Ocean launching also allows more optimal latitudinal placement for efficient matching specific types of earth orbits. Potential profits from ocean launch are considerable.

Frontier Opportunity Society:
A developing society offers many opportunities that older, more mature societies do not provide. The opening of the American west was but one example of a large-scale frontier opportunity. Such opening frontiers as the oceans, and outer space, breed hope, ambition, and ingenuity in the human imagination. The alternative to opportunity is stagnation and hopelesness.

Frontiers tend to attract and breed more adventurous and creative humans, who open new and broader horizons for the human future.

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