Les Johnson’s 'Paradise Regained'
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 15:10
Most citizens of the world are aware that the resources of Earth are steadily disappearing. Fortunately, there are experts like Charles “Les” Johnson with ideas of how to fix this major issue.
Johnson was the academic speaker Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 in Watkins Auditorium. He is currently a Deputy Manager at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Johnson is a graduate from Transylvania University in Kentucky with a B.S. in chemistry and physics. He then received a M.S. in physics from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. He has worked for NASA since 2008.
In his talk Tuesday, he stated that he was speaking to the group as a private citizen and not as an extension of NASA. The purpose of his talk was to inform the audience about an alternative to our depleting resources on Earth. His points came from his book Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth.
The book, co-written by Greg L. Matloff and C. Bangs, expresses thoughts about looking to outer space to replace our resources on Earth. Johnson wants to make a difference in our environment for the future. He enjoys, “the notion of living in harmony with the environment." In order to do that, Johnson says we have to look up, to space.
According to Johnson, developing space will benefit life on earth. By extracting metals and energy sources from outer space, Earth’s features will be preserved. There will be less mining and destruction of mountains in the United States. Lakes cease to dry up, and water sources will continue to be available in places like Chad, Africa. In addition, deforestation will discontinue in Paraguay and Brazil.
The reason for all of this destruction of resources is what Johnson referred to as the “Power Dilemma”. The earth’s supply of fossil fuels is finite. Niche energies, such as windmills and hydroelectric energy, are not sufficient for what the earth actually needs.
Johnson’s proposal is two-fold. First, we begin using space solar power. The power is beamed down from solar panels in space to deserts. By beaming down to deserts, the effect on the Earth’s environment is minimal. Humans would be unharmed if they should be exposed to the power. The United States is currently in competition with India and Japan to begin this new alternative. Second, we begin using nuclear fusion from the moon. By using substance from the moon, nuclear waste is minimized.
Finally, Johnson touched on global warming. It is a major debate in today’s world, with a lot of speculation one way or the other. Johnson’s opinion is that, “we humans are somewhat responsible for that."
To eliminate this problem, Johnson proposes a “sun shade” for the earth. These solar shields would be thinner that a human hair. The purpose would be to reduce the energy input from the Sun. The Japanese have already launched a solar shield. NASA intends to launch theirs in 2012.
Johnson’s final challenge for the audience is to “reuse, recycle, and reduce consumption” while we develop space to buy us time. The final goal is a paradise regained.