The Pillar versus the Pyramid
The cartoons presented at the ESA workshop
I drew these cartoons for my presentation at the European Space Agency’s Exploration Workshop at Edinburgh in January 2007. I still think they make a good point, despite the fact that ESA was clearly not paying attention.
My argument was that the traditional space architecture would be unstable and liable to collapse at any time. Thus one single space station, followed by one single Moon base, followed by one single Mars base. This is the pillar (first cartoon).
Of course a space agency would justify the pillar architecture by pointing out that they would have neither the need nor the funds to operate more than one space station. In fact they would be more likely to want to scrap the orbital station in order to free up funds for going to the Moon, and scrap any presence on the Moon in order to be able to afford Mars.
In other words, they would assume that only government scientists have any business spending time in space.
A stable, sustainable architecture, by contrast, would require a pyramid architecture (second cartoon)…