Originally published by the Kansas City Anarchist Black Cross.
Anarchists in Space!?
This post is designed to tell you a little more about who I am now. In truth, I’m seeking funds and I don’t want to ask for that kind of help without giving people an idea as to who I am and what my plans are.
I want to start by giving you my vision of the future and explaining the opportunities I see there for us as a collective whole. Fair warning: some of my visions project into the distant future, although they seem a natural consequence of our very near future and our history as a species. In short, my vision for our future lies in space. That’s right, anarchists in space! Far-fetched, I know, but let me explain.
So, everyone knows by now, or should know, that as a species we are in the process of not only visiting another planet, Mars, but also making plans in an effort to colonize the red planet. Beyond being mind-boggling, this has serious consequences for the fate of humanity. Namely because governments are no longer the only players in the space travel business. Companies like MarsOne and SpaceX are also seeking to colonize. In some cases, sooner than any nation-state plans to arrive.
What implications does this have on the human experience and how does it relate to us as anarchists? In the obvious sense we’re speaking of lawless capitalist corporations creating colonies on another planet. One can imagine that Mars will simply be the first of many colonial endeavors. Ultimately, no matter what form it takes, this means capitalism will only occupy more space in our reality. As a consequence, the space anarchists occupy in the consciousness of humanity will ultimately shrink. Making us less significant than we already are considered by outsiders. In other words, if we stand still while they’re expanding out, although our numbers remain the same, our significance as scaled by a ratio is diminishing. This, of course, is based on the sound assumption that no god-fearing capitalist would ever dream of allowing anarchists in on the colonization process. I think that’s safe to presume.
But, there’s another way. The key is that they won’t allow us to be in on the process. That doesn’t mean we don’t have an in. There is where my vision begins.
Currently, one of the greatest challenges to space exploration is propulsion systems. There are a few different means of propulsion we have available to us now. For Mars-based missions, chemical propulsion systems are preferred. However, it’s expensive and not realistic for manned expeditions beyond the asteroid belt. The most sensical replacements for chemical-based systems are fusion systems. Fusion is the process of atoms smashing, or fusing, together. It’s identical to the process taking place in our sun. Opposite of the fission that powers current nuclear reactors. The catch is that to be able to achieve the fission we’d need to sustain space flight we’d need a relative abundance of an isotope known as Helium-3.
Helium-3 is a naturally occurring result of the fusion process taking place within our sun. It’s distributed by solar winds throughout our solar system. The issue lies in its sensitivity to interaction to our atmosphere. It’s extremely rare here on Earth because most of it is destroyed by our atmosphere and our magnetosphere. However, neither of these issues is the case on our moon. There the soil (known as regolith because it contains no organic material) is saturated with the isotope. It’s believed that a mere 25 tons of Helium-3 could provide enough energy to satisfy the U.S. energy supply for a year. Powerful indeed.
The catch is getting to it. That’s where I believe we as anarchists possess the greatest potential in staking our claim in the new and “final” frontier that is about to open for humanity. True, scientists are still working out issues found in both space travel and nuclear fusion. However, the challenges they’re faced with are not so grand as to be seen as unsolvable. That makes them an eventuality. One that becomes more real each passing year.
There are some issues we, as anarchists, face in being able to access this fuel source. First, though, some of you are probably still wondering why this should even be considered in the first place.
I understand that space travel doesn’t seem like a pressing issues that should even be considered as part of the anarchist agenda, but let’s consider the alternative. Say we do nothing and attempt to go nowhere, as I’m certain many of us would opt not to. Say the capitalists of the world continue to expand to the far reaches of our solar system in a quest for more resources. Where does that leave us? At some point, (I imagine not too long after the first manned Mars missions by corporations) regulations will be put in place governing who is allowed access to space. Right now, these regulations are lax based on the premise that not too many people have the ability to get there. So there exists a time-frame for our window of opportunity. Once closed it may be near impossible to achieve.
Beyond the option being taken anyway, let’s consider why it should be considered an option in the first place, ignoring obvious challenges we have. Here on Earth we speak of insurrections and revolutions as dreams for a better world. An alternative war. The truth, however, is that few of us act on the dreams in any way that is likely to bring about that change. This is the case for different reasons to different people. It could be a matter of perception (i.e. we perceive our actions as being grander than they are because the individuals’ perspective is so often smaller than the bigger picture), a case of denial, or even a lack of understanding. There are any number of reasons why, but the reality is that few are earnestly working toward that goal.
Still, for the sake of argument, let’s say that revolution is a viable option. Say we pursue it even more vigorously than we are at current. I mean let’s say shit gets serious. What are our chances of winning? What are our chances of sustaining that win realistically? Do we even know what a win looks like, much less what it takes to get there?
I’m not suggesting we all abandon ship and take up cause with my idea. That’s loony and definitely far too egotistical. In fact, I still think it’s necessary, even vital, that we continue to resist. However, I do suggest we begin to analyze our situation as a whole a little more realistically.
The odds are not in our favor. Never have they been. Yet, still here we are struggling. That alone is a testament to our spirit and resilience. Let us not forget that.
My aim here is to present us with an alternative. I think this is a reasonable alternative to a successful revolution, at least in terms of probability. Both are known as “moonshots.” It’s said that it’s wise not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Well, here’s a chance for us to explore another basket.
So, now we can explore the foreseeable challenges we’ll encounter with a pursuit of a mining excavation on the moon. What immediately comes to mind is finances, knowledge and capabilities (in no particular order). None of which are small fries. But, they’re not beyond our means of overcoming either.
Knowledge is something we can work to obtain. Something I’m actively pursuing even behind these walls. I have no lack of faith that this factor is within our reach, so I’ll move on.
Finances. This is definitely an issue, but possibly not as big as some would think. As an example, NASA routinely spends over $2 billion on their missions to Mars, some of which are unsuccessful. However, India recently launched an orbiter that successfully arrived at Mars for only $74 million. That’s less than 4% the cost. Not to mention they were successful on their first attempt. If we use NASA’s budget as a base for comparison, this would suggest a mission to the moon could be achieved for a few million dollars. Ultimately, I think this is achievable. It’s just the beginning though. I’m actually proposing a project.
Capabilities are achieved through a synthesis of knowledge and finances, so I won’t spend too much time on it. Instead, I’ll lay out my intents on achieving them.
It all begins with knowledge. With it comes the ability to make money. This is how I plan to contribute. Currently, I’m seeking to obtain an Associates in Science from Ohio University via correspondence courses. This is a long and unnecessarily slow process because I’m housed in Missouri DOC. However, eventually they should approve me to begin taking courses. At this point, my lovely mother has a stated goal of trying to finance one course per semester due to their excessive costs. Not to mention most of Ohio University’s correspondence courses are 4 to 5 credit hours a piece. At $333/credit hour, that’s $1,332-$1,665 each! 50% of those geared toward my concentration must be from Ohio U. At least 20 credits total from Ohio U.
If all goes well I should be able to achieve 40 credits before my 85% release date in November 2020. However, that’s 20 credits shy. My intent is to take a 5 course math sequence through LSU to achieve 19 of those remaining 20 as electives. Without access to more information, that’s the best I can do for now. The cost of the math-sequence at LSU will cost $3,918 in tuition costs at current prices and $50 for all the course application fees and whatever the textbooks come up to. Maybe $4,500 total.
So, after I achieve my Associates in Science, my intent is to pursue a double major in Aerospace Engineering and Computer Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. They’re rated as the #3 engineering school by USA Today and The College Factual. They’re also in-state, which makes them affordable. If I’m eligible for their Transfer Assistance Program, it could drop the tuition costs from $10,402 to $7,902 (at current rates). FAFSA should drop that a little more. That makes tuition costs well within range of something affordable, so long as I’m working.
There is, to DOC’s credit, a vocational program here that awards industry-recognized certificates for “manufacturing production technicians.” That certificate should allow me to find work in a factory while pursuing my education at MST.
From MST my plan…hold up. It’s important that I stress MST has design clubs and one organization directly applicable to my efforts to start an excavation project on the moon: Rocketry Design, Satellite Design, and Miners in Space.
That said, my plans following MST are to pursue a Masters and then a Doctorate in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering from the University of New Mexico. New Mexico holds special relevance to the field of rocketry.
Which leads me back to my vision. Obviously, training astronauts to send to the moon is well beyond any means we possess. However, I don’t believe sending communications satellites into orbit to communicate with a swarm of self-assembling nanobots is. That’s the plan. Instead of humans mining the soil, we use robots. That’s not beyond the realm of reality.
Yeah, there are a lot of questions surrounding the moral implications that come with the advent of new technologies. I think a lot of these are valid and needed. However, I don’t see technology itself as a morality question. It seems too much a natural consequence of human evolution. I can’t foresee that ever coming to an end. Think the wheel, or the plow or even the spear. Technology is needed. I do believe there are moral implications in the ways technology are used. At the very least, I believe a thorough understanding of how these technologies work is necessary in case there ever is a need to fight against them.
A clean energy fueling station on the moon may not be the most ideal outlook, but it’s a means for us to finance other endeavors in our future. Namely, it’ll help us in preparing to go inter-stellar when the opportunity arises. Believe it or not, the physics have already been worked out for a warp drive using something known as an Alcubbierre Bubble to actually contort space-time to propel a craft beyond the speed of light barrier. NASA is actively pursuing the technology.
Now for the kicker. There are billions of stars within our known universe. Many of these stars possess at least one planet, many have multiple planets. Some seem to be habitable. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that there are thousands, even millions of planets out there that we could live on. Given the vast number of stars and the chaos involved in creating them as well as their planets, why shouldn’t we believe that there is a planet out there for each one of our exotic imaginations? There’s no way to say for sure, but it is possible.
More immediately, it’s easy to envision fusion-powered rockets as being the catalyst for transforming space travel within our solar system to something more akin to requiring air-traffic control equivalents. Our setting up a fueling station at, as of now, the only place to fill up, gives us a stake in that future. Money may not be our pursuit, but sustained survival must be. Subtly providing a realistic means to exploit other rocks in our solar system could provide an alternative to exploitation of our own, which poses a threat to life on it. As of yet, no life has ever been discovered elsewhere.
I’ve laid out my plans, my vision. Of course, they’re very broad and generalized at the moment, but as time goes on and I’m able to gather more and more pieces to the puzzle the path will become clearer. At this moment, I’m only aware of which direction I’m headed. The path to my destination isn’t laid out before me. It’s uncharted. Something I must create.
This is where I ask you to put faith in me, even my vision, if you can see the same potential. I’m not trying to fund the project just yet. I’m just looking for people to help me with my education while I’m in here and unable to pursue it on my own. I was working as a tutor here four days a week, ten hours per day, but for reasons I won’t bore you with, I was fired. The job grossed me almost $14 for a little over a month’s work. The most I can make here for working is $18.50/month. Not enough to pay for a single credit hour, despite my saving for an entire year. It’s paltry.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I knew full well what I was getting myself into when I did what I did. In fact, I figure I got off easy. I’m just asking that if you share this passion with me and want to show me solidarity, then please help me by contributing to fund these correspondence courses for me. I ask because I’m incapable of doing it alone. I need your help. If you can spare even a little faith in my vision, please don’t hesitate to send what you’re able. I can’t expect much and don’t have a right to expect anything. This is why even one dollar counts. Think of this as spanging.
I don’t expect my comrades to bare this burden alone. That’s why I’m seeking funds for a typewriter, so I can draft a manuscript for my cyberpunk novel based around my conceptualized need for anarchists in space. It’s great and I think it’ll do well, but at this point time is of the essence. Because the courses I’m wanting to take through LSU are a sequence, each requiring 6-9 months a piece, I’ll need 30-45 months to complete them. There’s also the issue of my credits transferring to Ohio University. I’ll need to have my last course at LSU completed before my last course at Ohio University. In order for them to transfer. I have about 55 months before I’m eligible for parole. As for a timeline I probably need to begin taking my first course at LSU by the start of next year in order to make things happen.
Comrades have been kind in their support for me, sending funds each month. I’ve been in bad shape and my spirit needed mending, so I spent most of that money on trivial materialistic things that made me feel better for the moment and a few that will help me carry through the rest of my bit. I’m forever grateful for that. However, I must pursue my passion now that I’ve found a means for my fire not to consume me. This isn’t something I can just forget about in pursue of something else. I’m determined to see this through and that requires I take it seriously and make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to make it happen. I’ve got to try everything.
Here’s a list of my goals in order:
1). A calculus textbook: This is to keep me occupied while I’m waiting to take these math courses and so I’m not wasting time twiddling my thumbs. It’s also been granted to me by the KCABC and my comrades at the ACAB fest. Thank you.
2). A typewriter: These cost $266 here. With ribbons and paper we can count on the cost totaling $300. This will be fore drafting my manuscripts. I have two books I can write. How to Create a Proper Sudoku Puzzle and the cyber punk novel, A Hole in the Fence (this title is not definitive yet).
3). Correspondence courses: Correspondence courses through LSU:
Math 1550 Analytic Geometry & Calculus 1 ($1,026.00) 5 hrs.
Math 1552 Analytic Geometry & Calculus 2 ($827.00) 4 hrs.
Math 2057 Multidimensional Calculus ($619.00) 3 hrs.
Math 2090 Differential Equations & Linear Algebra ($827.00) 4 hrs.
Math 3355 Probability ($619.00) 4 hrs.
Textbooks and fees for above courses ($580.00)
4). Three months’ rent estimate ($1500.00)
This is to provide me with a place to heal and get myself together once released from this shit hole. I know I’m going to need space to think and adjust at my own pace. I’m also adaptable, so I’ll make it with or without. It would just be helpful.
Well, there you have it comrades. You know where my head is at. This is the shit I’ve been on and will continue to develop. Gaining knowledge to apply to this project will be transferable to other areas useful to the collective whole as well. I’ll study computer programming, computer engineering, physics, math, aerodynamics, and communications. All of these are useful to our cause. You may not agree with everything I’m about, but we are on the same side. This is ultimately the only means I have of contributing right now. It’s just that in order to do so, I need your help. In other words, I can help and I will help, but in order to do so you have to want my help. I realize everyone has busy lives out there. I also realize we need the know-how. I’ve got nothing but time on my hands, let me do what you don’t have time for. Put just a little bit of faith in me and watch it grow into something more than anything we’ve comprehended before. When I’m released I’d like to create a website devoted to my vision and the details of the project.
Take care of yourselves, comrades.
P.S. I’ve included some articles I’ve managed to run across over the years. Even with my extremely limited resources.