The Oculus Rift, developed for use in the virtual worlds, being used to drive a tank in Norway ~ image from here ~

Will Gaming Save the Earth?
Kim Peart  

Following the story in the Sunshine Coast Daily announcing my participation in the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles 14-18 May ~

the prospect of attending a second conference arose.

The Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and Expo is being held at the Computer History Museum in San Francisco 19-20 May ~

and I will not only be attending, but also making a 60 second pitch with a concept.

A minute may not sound long, but considering the audience will be the pioneers of the virtual worlds, a well-aimed pitch could start a landslide of interest.

Among those attending will be Palmer Luckey, the creator of the Oculus Rift, which was recently acquired by FaceBook for $2 billion ~

Facebook has 1.2 billion users and the introduction of the Rift technology will open up a whole new way of social interaction, using avatars in virtual worlds, like Second Life.

The CEO at Oculus, Brendan Iribe, intends to inspire 1 billion people to participate in this new way to use Facebook, via the Oculus Rift in the virtual world, where the users can create content, set up a virtual house to meet friends and display images ~

See the embedded video in that story.

Gaming legend John Carmack now works at Oculus.

John also launched a space development company called Armadillo Aerospace ~

Many pioneers of gaming and the virtual worlds also have a keen interest in space development and I hope that the idea of a virtual space program will be a vision that connects in Silicon Valley.

If those billion anticipated users of the Oculus Rift via the virtual worlds were to also participate in a virtual space program, we would have an army of keen people driving space investment and demanding action on real space development.

At the same time, the billion space pioneers could invest in action for a safe Earth.

I am strongly convinced that space development holds the key to our future survival in the cosmos.

Steve Jobs last great vision is now being built in Silicon Valley.

Popularly referred to as the spaceship, a name Jobs gave it when presenting before the local Council for building approval, the great circular building will look like it could lift off the Earth ~

With the Apple vision now going cosmic, we can but wonder if Apple will also reach for the stars.

By building solar power stations in space, we will gain direct access to the virtually unlimited energy-well of our star and be able to use this power to extract excess carbon from our planet's biosphere, thus solving climate change and winning real space development.

Carbon can be extracted from the air, but it takes a heap of energy to achieve this ~

Using our Sun's energy, extracted carbon can be processed into a useful resource for Earth and space industries and there are endless potential uses for carbon.

If anyone worries that the Sun will run out of energy on us, it pays to remember that our star has so much fuel in reserve, it will burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, until expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant.

So much power.

We wouldn't want to be living on Earth then.

One reason to get the carbon level down, with atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) now expected to rise toward 600 parts per million (ppm) by 2050, is that higher levels of CO2 will make our food less nutritious and impact on human health ~

Atmospheric CO2 is now passing 400 ppm and to regain control of the carbon balance on Earth, we need to get CO2 below 350 ppm ~

The threat to human nutrition is in addition to increasing levels of CO2 causing global warming, which drives climate change, sea level rise and ocean acidification.

Now we learn that Nature will begin to compete with us in warming the planet, by releasing long-stored carbon from melting permafrost in the Arctic and ocean floor methane hydrates.

We lit the fuse and now Nature is set to explode, taking us all into a much hotter and far more dangerous world.

When we also look at our increasingly unsustainable presence on this planet, demanding more from the Earth than Mother Nature can provide, we can be left wondering if we are creating a perfect storm of catastrophes that could engulf our civilization.

The only way that we could drive down CO2 in a realistic time-frame, is by using the energy of the Sun.

With solar power stations in space, we will be able to launch industry beyond Earth, using near-Earth asteroids, resources from the Moon and recycled space junk now orbiting our planet.

There are 19,000 pieces of space junk larger than 5 cm orbiting Earth and it all needs cleaning up ~

With industry in space, it will be possible to build our planet's defences against killer asteroids.

It is now common knowledge that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant asteroid hitting the gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago.

It has only recently been worked out that an asteroid fire-storm wiped out all human communities and also the megafauna across North America only 12,800 years ago ~

This was probably caused by a single asteroid that broke up in the atmosphere, with the many pieces exploding in the air.

After an asteroid exploded above a Russian city last year, we now know just how dangerous these rocks from space can be ~

and the next event could be a whole lot larger.

With industry in space, we would also be able to build cities among the stars that offer an Earth gravity via rotation, like the orbital space settlement seen in last year's science fiction movie ~ Elysium ~

If anyone is worried about running out of resources in space, one of the pioneers of space settlement design, Professor Gerard K O'Neill, worked out that there is enough material in the Asteroid Belt to build habitats with a land area 3,000 times that of Earth.

We also have the resources of the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury and there are trillions of objects flying around the solar system.

It is now wondered if another Earth will one day be found out beyond Pluto ~

Though initial space development is an expensive undertaking, it is an essential insurance investment for the survival of our species.

In my document ~ Creating A Solar Civilization ~ I describe how we will reach a point in space development, where no further investment will be needed from Earth and where the return will be infinite, from across the Solar System and among the stars ~

If we are smart now, we can begin designing a stellar economy that eliminates poverty and offers unlimited creative opportunities for all Earth's children.

When we know we will achieve that, we will start making it happen on Earth.

If we sit on Earth and wait for the next big one, we will be no better off than the dinosaurs, who also failed to develop a serious space program.

We will also be no smarter than the giant lizards, if we fail to deal with the space junk we keep dumping above Earth.

It is now feared that one satellite hitting another could cause a cascade of collisions, leading to a volume of space junk that will block our access to space for hundreds of years.

There is a trillion dollars worth of working satellites orbiting the Earth now.

Can you imagine what our world would be like without satellites, or the ability to explore space?

Concern about space junk has seen the Australian government support a $150 million initiative at Mt Stromlo, near Canberra, to monitor dead satellites and space junk and also bring objects back to Earth using a laser beam ~

Watch the embedded film in that story.

Will humanity connect the dots and wake up to the way forward for our survival, before events, whether natural or caused by us, conspire against us and remove our choice?

Attending the Silicon Valley event will be the founder of Second Life, Phillip Rosedale, who is working on a new form of the virtual world, called High Fidelity, which is expected to be where people using the Rift will go to communicate, buy virtual goods and build their dreams ~

High Fidelity has investment support from Second Life and Google.

Rosedale has been keeping an eye on the Rift and Second Life are developing a viewer for the Rift.

Some people have been using the Rift in Second Life already ~

Surprisingly, the use of the Rift is not limited to the virtual world, with the Norwegian Army putting the system to work when driving tanks ~

The driver wouldn't need to be sitting in the tank to control it.

Similarly, a technician on Earth could use the Rift to work through a robot in space.

There are many uses that this technology may be put to work with, including deep ocean research and in dangerous locations underground, such as mines.

The US president, Barack Obama, said recently, "a new report on climate change underscores the need for "bold actions"."

Will this "bold action" happen by a billion people in the virtual worlds, also acting in their local community, people who see the big game that we must play, demanding action on both Earth care and serious space development.

The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is keen on direct action when it comes to tough problems.

Direct action could see investment in virtual world technology, so that we may reach to the stars on Earth, save the planet and create our celestial future.

Such direct action would need to include a properly functioning fast broadband service across the nation.

Maybe our survival now hinges on gamers deciding to save the Earth and win the stars.



Kim Peart's article describing the future that we could create ~ Creating A Solar Civilization ~

Article by Kim Peart exploring why we are not there yet ~ A Deeper Level of Denial ~

Full media release from previous story published here ~