Please visit the Space Peace Star website for a more comprehensive overview of the Space Peace Star art intervention.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.
(Note: all links are to external websites)
- What is the Space Peace Star?
The Space Peace Star project to put a star in the sky - a star of peace - is an artistic intervention and global collaborative effort to influence the direction of humanity's future from one of war, chaos and misery to one of peace, hope and prosperity.
- Why space?
In his book The Overview Effect, Frank White writes:
“War and space exploration are alternative uses of the assertive, exploratory energies that are so characteristic of human beings. They may also be mutually exclusive because if one occurs on a massive scale, the other probably will not.”
War and violence are vestiges of our less evolved human past and it is counter-productive to humanity's survival to carry these traits into the future. War is the biggest threat to the future of civilization and the possibility of a global war appears to be increasing as geopolitical tensions increase.
As a viable alternative to this escalating situation, space is one arena of human activity where peaceful international cooperation has flourished. The European Space Agency is a remarkable example on Earth. The International Space Station is an extraordinary example in space.It has become increasingly evident that the expansion of civilization beyond the atmosphere of its home planet offers humanity a significant opportunity to finally escape the plague of perpetual war.
By focusing humanity's energies and creativity on the challenges of opening and developing the space frontier instead of dedicating these to the destruction of nations and people's lives, there can be true hope for a future of peace and prosperity for all.
Those in the space community have known for years that space development and the inexhaustible resources of the solar system offers humanity it’s most optimistic path to peaceful and prosperous future – a concept we call the Space Option.
- What is the purpose of the Space Peace Star mission?
The Space Peace Star mission is three-fold:
- to become a communication vehicle for global solidarity in the cause of peace and tolerance at a time when geopolitical tensions signal there is a serious threat to the future of human civilization,
- to symbolically connect - through its development - the promise of space development with the future well-being of humanity,
- to allow the public to become directly involved in a global initiative that opposes the forces of militarization and repression.
- What is the message of this artistic intervention?
The message that is embedded in the project and that which will be communicated to a global audience is:
Peace on Earth, Peace off Earth, Peace with Earth
This message connects the promise of space development with hopes and aspirations of the world population in an effort to move beyond war and into space. It also connects the ecological and environmental benefits that space development promises when addressing these critical concerns.
In addition to its symbolic form representing the astronomical symbol of the Earth, this message will be integrated into the spacecraft development in various ways including an electronic archive of messages from the public, video of the deployment in the space environment, through the Internet and via ground activities with a high public awareness potential which may begin in the early developmental phases of the project.
- Is the Space Peace Star technologically feasible?
Yes, the underlying technology of using CRES (Chemically Rigidized Expandable Structures) for large space structures has been under development in Europe and in the United Stated for almost thirty years, although not yet used for a space object of this dimension. The authors - Arthur Woods and Marco Bernasconi - have a long experience with proposing artworks based on this technology including studies carried out for the European Space Agency.
- What are the technological aspects of Space Peace Star mission?
Technologically, the Space Peace Star will serve as an orbital demonstration for large space structure technology, possibly utilizing membrane concepts (“gossamer structures”). Such a technology development was undertaken in the past under an European Space Agency technology program for Inflatable Space Rigidized Structures (ISRS) which began in the 1980’s and primarily carried out by the Swiss space company Contraves AG (today part of RUAG Aerospace).
As such, the orbital Space Peace Star technical mission would also contribute as:
- a demonstration of the installation of an expandable structure in orbit, given that still a very limited number of items in the envisaged size range have actually flown in space – and even fewer have reached this level of complexity;
- as a minimal basis the deployment of the Space Peace Star would demonstrate the release of the container for a toroidal structure, deployment, pressurization and cure of the torus, as well as venting of torus;
- and provide additional technical and scientific measurements, in line with the open philosophy of the mission.
Because of the limited technical aims, lifetime in Earth orbit would be restricted to one year, allowing the implementation of a low-cost lightsat philosophy. The mission will use spacecraft bus elements of conventional technology.
- What is the significance of this demonstration?
In addition to the above mentioned technological aims, the Space Peace Star will be visible to much of the world’s population. As such, the Space Peace Star will be an unprecedented global art and space event.
The interactive communication from the spacecraft to locations on Earth involving people from around the world will be highly educational. Last but not least, the art funding approach will allow the world population to personally share in both its realization and its message.
- How can the Space Peace Star realistically contribute to addressing the issues of war and peace?
In an era in which governments and their war industries yearly spend trillions on the tools of destruction and chaos, much less money is dedicated to the cause of peace and prosperity. Since the beginning of 21st century the number of armed conflicts around the world have increased and continue unabated as most of these conflicts never seem to have an end.
Absurdly, war is often perceived as a way to solve our economic problems.Worldwide military budgets have increased continuously and in the year 2015, approximately $1.7 trillion was reportably spent on military expenditures by the governments of the world. That is approximately $250 US dollars spent for every citizen of our planet and represents 2.3 percent of the global gross domestic product. Analysts suggest that 10 percent of the money that the world spends on its militaries every year would be enough to end global poverty and hunger in just 15 years.
By contrast, the relative modest cost of the Space Peace Star would be the result of a global collaborative action which could signal a new direction for humanity. Furthermore, the skills and knowledge presently found in the military industries could be re-directed into space development industries.
By focusing humanity's energies and creativity on the challenge of opening and developing the space frontier instead of destroying civilization there can be true hope for peace and prosperity for all in the near future leading to the ultimate survival of our species as well as the preservation of life on Earth. We believe most people on Earth prefer to live in a peaceful environment and one that is free from the chaos and misery of war.
TheSpace Peace Star presents the global community a unique chance to collectively create and send a powerful message to our world leaders that "war" is no longer an acceptable part of our future. As such, the Space Peace Star offers the people of the world an opportunity to make choice about their future. The challenge to humanity is to redirect its focus to making this happen before a major war or another global crises makes this impossible to do so.
- Why is it called a “star” and will it be visible to observers on Earth?
As presently defined, the Space Peace Star will have a diameter of approximately 22 meters and will be a highly reflective object. Its rotation will reflect sunlight in a blinking fashion.In comparison, the International Space station - which is not a solid object and not particularly reflective - is approximately 52 m long, 27.4 m high and 73 m wide and is easily visible to the naked eye.
- Will you be allowed to launch the Space Peace Star and who will launch it?
The Space Peace Star is bona fide space project and will be developed as such. It will necessarily fulfill all technical, environmental and legal requirements associated with placing satellites in orbit. The authors have much experience in the space community and have realized two previous art interventions in Earth orbit.
A similar, but smaller SPS object was constructed and almost realized in 1992 but was postponed due to political developments.Recently, access to space has become commercially available and more affordable. We will obviously seek out the most cost efficient launch provider. If the people of the world want this to happen and support the project, it will happen.
- Why is the Space Space Star being developed as an art intervention and not as a typical commercial or scientific mission?
We believe the Space Option concept is critical to the future of humanity and this aspect of the project will begin as the project becomes more publicized and will be fully achieved once the Space Peace Star is visible as a star in the sky to the entire world population.As an art intervention, it has a broader technological developmental framework in which to achieve its goals. With this approach, it is more flexible and perhaps less risky than a typical scientific or commercial space mission with similar technological objectives.
- How much will the Space Peace Star cost?
The actual cost of the mission can only be precisely determined once additional technical studies have been carried out and technology partners identified. These aspects are part of the project’s current development plan. With an estimated payload mass of 300 kg in its present configuration, the launch cost on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket would be approximately $1 million ( $1,233 per pound).
Based on our best estimates and experience we believe the construction and launch of the Space Peace Star could be realized for 10 million Swiss francs (Swiss francs are approximately equivalent to US dollars).At this critical moment in human history, one could say that the cost on NOT DOING such projects is exponentially more than whatever the cost would be to make such projects happen.
- How will the Space Peace Star be financed?
As with our previous art interventions, we plan to rely primarily on an art funding (crowdfunding) approach. Artworks specific to the Space Peace Star will be created and sold to people who want to support the project. Hopefully many people from around the world will decide to support this and other Greater.Earth art interventions.
A good example of multi-million dollar artist funded projects have been those undertaken by Christo and Jean-Claude - i.e. the Wrapped Reichstag (1971-1995) which cost $15,000,000 to realize and was financed solely through the sales of artworks made by the artists.
In today’s art market, artworks costing much more are regularly sold in art galleries, art fairs and in auctions. Perhaps some enlightened art collector will wish to purchase the Space Peace Star before or while it is in orbit.