In 1976 I became a member of the L-5 Society, an origination founded by Gerard O’Neil, a Physics professor at Princeton University.
The L-5 Society was the result of the enthusiastic response to an assignment O’Neil had given to his physics classes—
“To explore the possibilities of human settlement and industrial development on the Moon and in orbiting space colonies.”
A lot of the action of my novel “Time of Destruction,” tales place in one of these space colonies, which I call L-4, or The Lagrange Colony.
For “A Unique, Time and Space Travel Adventure,”
“Time of Destruction.” By John C. Meyer
Go to https://johncmeyer.com
Gerard O’Neill had three careers. As an experimental physicist, he invented and developed the technology of storage rings that is now the basis of all highenergy particle accelerators. As a teacher and writer, he explored the possibilities of human settlement and industrial development on the Moon and in orbiting space colonies.
As an entrepreneur, he founded several companies to develop new commercial technologies, ranging from a cheap satellite navigation system (Geostar) and a secure short-range office communication system to a high-speed train system.
In 1965 O’Neill became a full professor at Princeton, where he remained until his retirement in 1985.
He enjoyed teaching and devoted much of his time and energy to doing the job well.
In 1969 he was responsible for teaching Physics 103-104 the basic introductory physics courses.
He decided to reform the courses radically, replacing the traditional problem exercises with “learning guides,” which led the students step by-step to a deeper understanding of what they were doing.
At the end of the term, O’Neill asked the class to write a term paper about a human habitat in space, calculating the requirements of mass and energy and propulsion for a viable settlement.
The students responded enthusiastically to this.
After reading the term papers, O’Neill was infected with their enthusiasm and wrote a paper of his own, “The Colonization of Space,” which was published in 1974 in Physics Today.
Thereafter, space colonies remained one of his main interests. In 1978 he and his wife, Tasha, founded the Space Studies Institute, a privately funded organization that supports technical research on the science and engineering of space activities.
The institute successfully built a working model of a mass driver, a device invented by O’Neill for cheap and efficient movement of materials from the Moon or an asteroid into orbit.
O’Neill founded the Space Studies Institute with the intention of introducing a new style into the world of space technology.
His purpose was to organize small groups of people to develop the tools of space exploration independently of governments and to prove that private groups could get things done enormously cheaper and quicker than government bureaucracies.
To bring his vision of the free expansion of mankind into space to a wider public, O’Neill wrote books.
His first book, The High Frontier (William Morrow, 1977) has been translated into many languages. It established O’Neill as spokesman for the people in many countries who believe that the settlement of space can bring tremendous beneflts to humanity and that this is too important a business to be left in the hands of national governments.
Gerard O’Neil Talks about space colonies:
Gerard O’Neil: On Space Habitat Design
Solar Power Art Set