Columbia
STS 107
February 1, 2003
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Interview Part 1
"The Lifeboat Foundation"
A matter of life and death.....

Space N Stuff has recently learned of the existence of the above Foundation, as a result of a Guest who visited Space N Stuff and contacted me.

An email request was made and Mr. Eric Klien, Founder and President of Lifeboat Foundation, generously agreed to an interview. As a matter of fact, once Mr. Klien responded to the questions in this interview, I discovered this is like eating potato chips, you can't be satisfied with just "one". At a later date, Space N Stuff will again contact Mr. Klien for a follow-up to this initial query.

Please understand that this is a very complex subject and due to space constraints, not all of the details can be presented, however, we are providing LINKS at the bottom of this Interview so that you can check their site for yourselves.

In a nutshell, the purpose of Lifeboat Foundation is to research technology in a serious effort to build vehicles, or "Arks" that will house permanent residents, away from Earth. In essence, self-sustaining colonies would be established, one at a time, in an effort to save Humanity. Lifeboat Foundation's basic concept of leaving Earth ... as a "matter of life and death."

This premise is a result of facts that cannot be denied. Human Beings are finding more and more ways to destroy the Earth, and......... each other.

Their goals are straight forward:
By 2004, they hope to educate the public as to 'coming dangers', promote efforts to preserve life, encourage advancement in Space Technology and fund SETI research.

By 2010, the efforts to develop self-sustaining technologies will be in full swing.

By 2018, complete the development above, launch a for-profit Corporation that would have as its primary goal, to put the first self-sustaining Space Colony in orbit, 248 miles above the Earth, and have subsequent colonies, further from Earth.

By 2020, to promote free enterprise in the conquest of Space.

Space N Stuff: Mr. Klien, your site provides a great deal of background information regarding your goals. However, I do have a series of questions to pose:

Space N Stuff: If I understand correctly, based on your current projections, people will not be off this planet until approximately 2020. In view of the seemingly endless strikes of Terrorism globally, will your "Arks" be too late?

Mr. Klien: It will be a close call.
In a technology timeline produced by British Telecommunications (a multibillion dollar conglomerate based in the United Kingdom) which we have a copy of at http://research.lifeboat.com/btexact.pdf, it was predicted that in as little as three more years terrorists will unleash dangerous bioweapons on the public. It stands to reason that creating self-sustaining space stations during the time between this prediction and total extinction will be a non trivial task.

Space N Stuff: It is my interpretation that each 'Ark' will be self-sufficient to accommodate 1,000 permanent residents and 500 visitors. In addition, those who are chosen will be the winner(s) of a lottery or benefit from "Lifeboat scholarships". While security is one of the top priorities for The United States, will that be a priority onboard an Ark? Will Lifeboat screen those who enter/win said lottery or scholarships? In other words, will criminals either present or future be included? If not? Would that be discrimination?

Mr. Klien: Needless to say, each passenger will undergo an intense screening process before being allowed to board. Someone like Martha Stewart, who may have done a little insider trading, would still be considered a potential candidate. But a convicted murderer would have little chance of being accepted as a candidate.

Space N Stuff: Human Nature, being just that, "human" ... presents many obstacles. Even if no weapons would be allowed, terrorism could flourish in the Colonies, in other ways. Currently, rules and regulations prevail in civilizations here on Earth. Governments here have impossible tasks and in the United States, laws vary by state. How would this be handled within the colonies?

Mr. Klien: Each colony will be free to create its own laws and standards of conduct. Security officials will have the benefit of a confined station and its finite number of passengers when monitoring suspicious or malicious behavior. And, of course, the use of practical safeguards such as psychological testing will have to be in place for those onboard who have access to dangerous technologies.

Space N Stuff: On this planet, we have various means to cope with and handle death. Since these colonies have no capability of returning to Earth, how would deceased individuals be cared for?

Mr. Klien: Long term, we intend for the colonies to repopulate other planets-- including the Earth. As for those permanently living on spacestations, burial traditions would be unlikely. The departed could, in the fashion of a sailor's burial at sea, be ceremoniously launched into the sun. Simple cremation and cryonic suspension are additional possibilities. In all cases, memorials could also be created to both honor those who have passed and provide comfort to those who have lost loved ones.

Space N Stuff: Although the world has made significant progress with various Space Programs, we still find 'glitches' that delay progress, at great expense. How will Lifeboat be different in this regard? Since the colonies are forever 'out there' how will replacement parts be stored? It would seem to be quite difficult to predict in advance, how many of each, would be needed to keep the Arks functioning at tip top performance.

Mr. Klien: The development of self-sustaining technologies is essential to this project. We certainly don't want to replicate the Skylab and Mir experiences where they had to toss their junked space stations into the ocean.

To create effective self-sustaining technologies will require, at the very least, the primitive beginnings of nanotechnology. This technology, which enables the manipulation of matter, atom by atom, could be used to stop a ship's entropy. Also, whatever plagues, fallout or weaponry was used by terrorists to wipe out life on Earth could be removed by this technology, thereby making the planet habitable again.

For the record, while it will take hundreds of billions of dollars, if not more, to create nanotechnology, we will let others handle the cost. (Over a billion dollars was spent on nanotechnology development just this year.) We will just slightly adjust such technologies so they are useful to self-sustain a space station. And that is what we will spend ten years doing.

Space N Stuff: For the first time since Man has walked on Earth, scientists and engineers are capable of mind boggling research and results. Yet, our Universe is constantly changing. Solar storms are perhaps altering many of our 'normal' weather patterns. Discoveries are being made faster than the press can report. Wouldn't it be difficult to plan now, with so many unknowns?

Mr. Klien: It is always difficult to make plans based on educated guesses, but no plan to preserve mankind seems premature when you consider the consequences. Stephen Hawking warns that "You can't regulate every lab in the world. The danger is that either by accident or design, we create a virus that destroys us." With this in mind, can we afford to wait? Can we afford not to make plans?

Space N Stuff: Finally Mr. Klien, mankind survives in 'groups.' Families, friendships, coworkers. Would Colonies provide employment? How would normal everyday expenses be handled? Would entire families qualify to climb onboard at the same time? Those who find living in space, is NOT their 'cup of tea' will face great stress, since it appears they will not be able to return, assuming there is a planet here still in existence. Can you elaborate?

Mr. Klien: The more arks we are able to build, the more room will be available to house entire families. And considering that only a few thousand people will be in such close proximity onboard the station, meaningful bonds will be forged, new families will spring up and, with time, a sense of community will grow strong.

As to employment, consumerism will not die alongside our planet. There will still be financial reward for services rendered. A new frontier offers new opportunity. Everyone will be encouraged to stimulate creativity and to provide the goods, services and entertainment needed for the station to flourish.

Comments: Mr. Klien? Feel free to add whatever you wish.

Mr. Klien: The idea that advanced technologies are not an appropriate match for our primitive culture is an obvious one, but it wasn't until recently that I figured out why few people are worrying about it. The answer is that non-scientists are oblivious to potential dangers, while on the other hand, those who worship at the altar of science live by the precept that future advancements will cure all the world's problems.

We are currently working on phase 4, the technical credibility, of our ARK I design and, in two weeks, I will be flying off to England to meet with a multibillionaire. Within a year or two, we expect our project to really gain some momentum!

Space N Stuff wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to Mr. Klien for his timely response and the use of his valuable time. In the near future, we will pursue additional information in the form of a follow-up interview.
In the meantime Mr. Klien, have a safe journey to England and back.
Nancy, Director of Operations, Editor
http://www.spacenstuff.com/

RESOURCES:
Below you will find various LINKS within Lifeboat Foundation's web site. It is very easy to navigate. We hope you will visit and see the details for yourself. Thank you.

http://lifeboat.com/ex/ : Home Page
http://lifeboat.com/ex/ArkI : Details on Ark I
http://lifeboat.com/ex/timeline : Current and Future Goals.
http://lifeboat.com/ex/faq : Frequently Asked Questions
http://research.lifeboat.com/btexact.pdf : Research





 


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