The High Road by Ben Bova
Boston : Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1981. Inscribed/signed by Ben Bova. First edition with full numbers line on copyright page. Hardcover. 289 pages ; 22 cm. $11.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Glue residue on front free endpaper. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
Here is an exciting, positive, and workable program for solving our closely interrelated problems of energy, environmental erosion, and threat of nuclear war. Bova's thesis is easy to grasp. We must first deal with population control • and experience shows that the only acceptable way to stabilize population is to raise the standard of living throughout the world. Like it or not, this means a continuing and ever increasing rate of productivity, especially among the industrialized nations, at least until the end of the century. And this in turn means a greater production of energy and extraction of raw materials.
How can we achieve this without destroying our environment, when we are already ravaging the land, polluting the atmosphere, and accumulating hazardous nuclear wastes? We can tap an infinite source of energy and more raw materials than we could ever use just a few hundred miles away, says Bova, and those few hundred miles are straight up!
The Low Earth Orbit in which satellites can cruise indefinitely is the high road into space. With permanent stations in place it requires comparatively little energy to launch vehicles that can mine the Moon and the asteroids, operate solar energy collectors, manufacture all kinds of sophisticated products for the coming technical age, monitor activities on Earth, and take the population and industrial pressure off our fragile environment.
Is this a romantic dream? Hardly. We have landed men on the Moon, after all, and even now the Russians have a permanent space station in orbit. It is simply a question of refining and developing techniques that we have al-ready mastered and being willing to spend the money that will be required.
This book presents a closely reasoned and persuasive case and a detailed agenda for an all-out space program— one in which both technocrats and environmentalists can join hands to embark on humankind's greatest adventure.
Editor of the phenomenally successful Omni, a noted science fiction writer, and consultant for the aerospace industry, Ben Bova combines a solid scientific background with a bold imagination and gift of expression that makes The High Road as stimulating as the program it describes. He lives in New York City and Hartford, Connecticut.
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