Monday, November 6, 2017

Great Big Timeline

Our new timeline maps out a vast set of complex, interconnecting plans leading to a solar system with major colonies on four worlds. When the timeline ends, there are thousands of ships trading megatons of goods from Mercury to Titan. It costs about as much to go to the Moon as it costs to fly half-way around the world today. Cities are being built at a high clip across the face of the Moon by robot crews that are only lightly overseen by a small number of people. We’ve launched small probes to other stars. There are satellites around every significant celestial body in the solar system, and rovers on all such bodies with a solid surface. Political and economic power has shifted dramatically into space. Our sense of who we are has changed forever.

It’s that last point that is the reason i work on Moonwards. I have this deep-seated feeling that we are in a time when our technical powers are exploding in scope so profoundly, we are about to be forced to redefine who we are. Already there are a whole set of arguments about what we should and shouldn’t do. We’ve been stepping into the pages of science fiction for some time, and that’s now accelerating, quickly. People need to process that, and think about all the implications.
That is why Moonwards throws off the shackles of political reality and shows what we genuinely are perfectly capable of doing if we tried. I think it’s important to make clear just how much we are holding ourselves back by clinging to petty differences and fretting about consequences. Here is the difference it makes: linear growth, or exponential growth.
For people to appreciate the difference, the place that shows it has to be realistic, detailed, complete, and open. This is what Moonwards is meant to become. It has to do it well enough that millions of people spend enough time there that it makes them start thinking long and hard about what really matters in life, and what they want for themselves and their children. It is critical for people to understand that the Moonwards logo shows cities glittering across the Moon because that could be only a century away. That isn’t a wild fantasy. That is the level of responsibility we need to shoulder. If we don’t, we are not only turning away from incredible growth that improves everyone’s lives and averts untold suffering, we are inviting new disasters on a scale we’ve never undergone before. The worst thing the world can do with power is ignore it. When we ignore power, we hand it to those who don’t care what anyone thinks.
Since this is how i feel about it, i reworked the timeline until it got across the true scope of the issue. Now i need to incorporate the new timeline’s changes to the colonies and ships into the text of the rest of the website. Then i need to sketch all the models needed to document it. Their first drafts really need to be simple sketches, so i can get through all of them in a timely manner. This is all meant to be a framework that other people flesh out and improve, so now that it has a solid foundation i’m confident in, it is time to stop fiddling with details. I am glad i did that, because to lead on this i really need to appreciate all that’s involved enough to work with all the people it needs. Those people need a whole landscape laid out so they understand how everything fits together and they can see where we’re headed. That landscape shouldn’t be any more detailed than that though. It should maximize the room there is for them to exercise their talent. There’s going to be plenty. Oodles. So much it’s going to be a major challenge looking after it all. It’s going to be years still before i can slow down my learning process or put in fewer hours.
I’d really appreciate input on the timeline. It’s about 80 pages of text, but i’ve split it up into chunks as best i can to make it digestible and easy to navigate. It needs images and diagrams, but right now i need to move on, i’ll go back and look after that later. I’m now quite confident that the major pieces of technology it’s built around are the best ones, in the paradigm the project assumes, of great technical decision-making and deep financial commitment. However i’m always eager for technical input. If you think anything is wrong, or missing, or misguided, please say so. And please bear in mind that although i haven’t been able to reward any of the people who have helped me so far, i am very aware of how much help i’ve received and intend to reward those people when i can.
In fact i’ll be seeking technical review of the architecture from a few people once i have the sketched models to clarify what i mean. And at that stage, there are several other new things that come into play. I spend a good chunk of my time now thinking over how to pursue alliances and finances so the virtual colonies can be properly built and go live with the right format and platforms. There are a number of steps that need to be taken in the next six months or so that must be handled with great care.
The Moonwards timeline shows off a big future worth struggling to reach. When the virtual colonies open, they will dazzle visitors with big ideas and present a clear and feasible path to get there. Then we’ll fill it all in together. We’re going to make something so stunning it changes the world.

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