Gerard K. O'Neill

American physicist and futurologist (1927–1992)

Gerard Kitchen O'Neill (6 February 192727 April 1992) was a U.S. physicist and advocate of space colonization. Born in Brooklyn, he graduated from Swarthmore College in 1950 and received a doctorate in physics from Cornell University in 1954. In the same year he joined the faculty of Princeton University, with which he remained associated until his death. O'Neill's early research focused on high-energy particle physics; he notably invented the particle storage ring.

Clearly our first task is to use the material wealth of space to solve the urgent problems we now face on Earth...

Quotes edit

  • The increasing demand for electricity, the shortage of fuels on earth, and concern about widespread use of nuclear energy have led to consideration of satellite solar power stations (SSPS's). Glaser ... has studied the SSPS concept, which is the location in geosynchronous orbit of stations converting solar into electrical energy, to be sent down as microwave power for conversion to direct current or to a power line frequency at the earth's surface.
Is the surface of a planet really the right place for expanding technological civilization?
  • Clearly our first task is to use the material wealth of space to solve the urgent problems we now face on Earth: to bring the poverty-stricken segments of the world up to a decent living standard, without recourse to war or punitive action against those already in material comfort; to provide for a maturing civilization the basic energy vital to its survival.
    • The High Frontier (1976)
  • We should ask, critically and with appeal to the numbers, whether the best site for a growing advancing industrial society is Earth, the Moon, Mars, some other planet, or somewhere else entirely. Surprisingly, the answer will be inescapable — the best site is "somewhere else entirely."
    • The High Frontier (1976)
  • There's no point in going out into space if the future that we'll see there is a sterile future living in tin cans. We have to able to recreate in space habitats which are as beautiful as earth-like as the loveliest parts of planet Earth and we can do that.
    • The High Frontier (1976)

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