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The VisioneersHow a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future$
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W. Patrick McCray

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176291

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176291.001.0001

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The Inspiration of Limits

The Inspiration of Limits

Chapter:
(p.40) Chapter 2 The Inspiration of Limits
Source:
The Visioneers
Author(s):

W. Patrick McCray

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691176291.003.0003

This chapter details Gerard O'Neill's fascination with exploration. He maintained a lifelong enthusiasm for what were the cutting-edge technologies of his youth such as radio and airplanes. As an adult, he avidly read and watched science fiction in which space settlements were depicted in exciting yet believable terms. The real-life successes of the Apollo program nurtured his interest in space. This may have especially been the case when he first started thinking seriously about space settlements. He treated the entire topic as a rational and detailed engineering problem. But, once satisfied with the plausibility of his concepts, he did not simply toss his tablets of sums and sketches into a desk drawer and go back to the physics research that he had built his career on. Instead, he steadfastly improved his designs and, just as importantly, promoted his vision for the future to colleagues and members of the public.

Keywords:   Gerard O'Neill, science, technology, space settlements, exploration

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