First Steps on the Thousand-Mile Journey

Project Persephone's current key effort is assessing the prospects for orbital terraria (exovivaria). User studies will focus on how to make them

  • a compelling experience for earthbound users in developed nations, for both education and recreation, and
  • a source of income for users in developing nations, especially for those in equatorial mountain regions.

A secondary Project Persephone focus is to assess the prospects for building projectile space launch infrastructure in equatorial mountain regions. The studies will focus on

  • the physical advantages of various locations
  • the opportunities for improving the lot of people native to those areas

Exovivaria - remote control of ecosystems in orbit

The Project effort is currently focused on how to provide realistic computer simulations of the user experience - i.e., virtual exovivaria - for a range of exovivaria designs, while researching how tele-operated robots might be enjoyably used in existing (terrestrial) vivaria. However, a wide range of other research topics are opened up in the process. For example, economists might be interested in what happens when you have labor mobility much higher than the mobility of products and raw materials -- terrestrial analogues of exovivaria could tell us a lot about a future in which higher energy costs make transportation more expensive, and in which almost all manual labor could be telebotically outsourced to lower-wage countries.

Cheap space launch - site surveys

Any projectile space launch system is likely to enable lower-cost expansion of exovivaria, if they prove viable and popular. The basic ingredients of vivaria (structural materials, mechanical components, seeds, ova, spores, microbes, soil, water, micronutrients) can be packaged to survive high-acceleration launch and be assembled by telebots. Such a launch style would also enable almost any other use of outer space, directly and indirectly, since most uses depend one way or another on similarly packageable elements.

This Project Persephone effort includes surveying the current state of the art in projectile launch, exploring interim commercial uses of the rudiments of such infrastructure, evaluating candidate sites (probably in equatorial mountain regions) for building launch infrastructure, and studying how Project Persephone goals can dovetail with programs for improving the lives of natives in regions around candidate sites.

Software projects


Software technology base TBD:

  • Projectile launch site ranking system - a package for ranking possible locations of projectile launch sites in terms of multiple factors with user-specifiable weighting:
    • Altitude at egress
    • Logistical accessibility for launcher construction
    • Downrange environmental sensitivity for sonic booms
    • Downrange social sensitivity for sonic booms, shielding debris fallout
    • Tourism potential of site
    • Opportunities for economic development
    • Risks of local conflict
    • Global arms control problems (e.g., is host nation an MTCR member? On track to become one?)



1 See e.g., Rocchini, D., Metz, M., Frigeri, A., Delucchi, L., Marcantonio, M., Neteler, M. (2011)."Robust rectification of aerial photographs in an Open Source space." Computers & Geosciences.

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