26 June 2011
Events - Habitat (Good)
SRI holds Inaugural Conference
The Space Renaissance in 2011
by Kim Peart
The Space Renaissance International (SRI) has held their inaugural congress live on Skype and included over 100 space development advocates from around the world.

Adriano Autino, president of the SRI, gave the keynote address from sunny Italy, at a civilized 3pm, as opposed to a less civilized 11pm in Sydney, Australia. Autino presenting the organisation's vision for the future of human civilization, with a view to the Solar System as a whole. He declared that humanity should work toward becoming a "solar civilization," where we "expand into the solar system."

Autino said that in the "Oort Cloud there are trillions of comets," pointing out a very large source of raw materials from across the Solar System, the potential building blocks of a future for humanity beyond Earth.

The building of solar power stations in space became a hot topic in the ensuing discussion; participants agreed that no civilization could progress beyond Earth without harnessing the energy to do so.

The congress developed SRI's strategy for the next for years. They intend to promote:

  • Space tourism, suborbital tourism, and space-based solar power (SpaceFuture's main concerns).
  • The development of facets essential to humanity in space, such as protection from radiation in space, as well as the generation of gravity for orbital space habitats.
  • Conveying financial support to the new space industry by creating an international space investment fund.
  • Promote tax discounts and friendly financing to space companies around the world.
  • Support the creation of space companies that recognize humanity.

Support the creation of new kinds of companies, combining cultural, philosophical and artistic concepts toward astronautical services and jobs, including virtual space habitats, where people can imagine a life outside the gravitational well.

It is hoped that universities will become involved with these projects, along with securing grants, sponsorships and finding donors to help finance the projects.

Dr. Feng Hsu, a former employee of NASA, noted, "We must [connect] the SRI movement with the issues confronting the everyday lives of the general public, such as energy shortages, climate changes, water [and] food shortages, and wars."

Participant Walter C. Putnam pointed out, "The key to getting it done is organizing on every local level. We must each begin now to publicize these views and get as many people involved as possible. That means all of us -- through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever other means are available."

Rob Hunt in Australia suggested, "SRI needs to be seen by the general public as having a very tightly defined goal and timeframe, else it will be seen as fringe."

Kim Peart said, "I see SBSP" (space based solar power) "as the key stepping stone beyond Earth, leading to space industry and space settlement. A serious move to build SBSP at an international level would drive a galaxy of improved and new propulsion systems."

Stephanie Lynne Thorburn cmplimented Adriano, "As a whole, I would like to take the opportunity of congratulating Adriano and the many industrious members of the SRI at all levels on what has actually been achieved in a relatively short space of time within the Space Renaissance. The organisation actually encompasses affiliations and support from a wide sector of the space industry. Progress at all levels is always difficult in times of recession and investment and improvements are always possible in an organisational sense; but the SRI always shows initiative - initiatives such as this Congress are very innovative."

The SRI congress was gallantly chaired by Space Future's Gail Leatherwood, a writer on space issues in Florida.

(By holding its inaugural congress online, SRI has also quietly accrued a rather large bundle of carbon credits from saving on air flights. Participants from Australia, Europe, and South and North America joined an event that involved 118 space development advocates from around the world.)
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Carol Pinchefsky 26 June 2011
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