Table of Contents



The question, "What is feasible?" can be finally answered only by future historians. If in the 14th and l5th Centuries when new technology first made transoceanic voyages possible, European rulers had inquired what they should do with this new capability, no man could have been long-headed enough to perceive all the possibilities, nor persuasive enough to communicate his vision to others. We now realize that technology is but a part of any broad stride taken by man. A perception of advantage to be gained, resolve, organization, and a continuity of effort - some of the elements that must combine with technology to effect a major human advance - is indeed vital

Space exploration, an active pursuit for less than two decades, has already displayed an extraordinary power to alter our viewpoints and stretch our minds. The concept of spacecraft Earth, a sphere of finite resources and ominous pollution, became pervasive and powerful at the same time we first received good photographs of our planetary home. The study summarized in this volume is another mind-stretcher. As explained on the following page, settlement in space is not an authorized program, and no man can now say if or when such a dazzling venture may be formally undertaken. But by their efforts to put numbers on an idea, to assess the human and economic implications as well as technical feasibility, the participants in this effort have provided us with a vision that will engage our imagination and stretch our minds

James C Fletcher
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
October 1, 1976