Joe Haldeman essay: Peace From On High

Giant Space Settlements?  Why?

Science Fiction Grandmaster Joe Haldeman, creator of so many classics including The Hemingway Hoax, Camouflage, All My Sins Remembered and, of course, The Forever War series and Forever Peace series, has graciously given The Space Studies Institute permission to re-release his Non-Fiction essay “Peace From On High.”

This work, previously only available in the fall 1980 edition of the Baen/Pournelle Destinies book series, looks at the concepts of SSI Founder Gerard K. O’Neill from a different angle than most any other that we have seen over the years.

The Space Studies Institute is very proud to bring this insightful essay back to the public and we are sure that you will find it truly fascinating.

“Peace From On High,” from multiple Hugo, Nebula, Rhysling and Locus award winner Joe Haldeman. Now available to you, for free, from The Space Studies Institute.

Get the pdf, read the pdf.  Click here: JoeHaldeman_PeaceOnHigh_ssi

Got here on your phone and can’t read pdfs?  Click here for the online reading text page.

Why is the org into “the most far flung ideas” the one org that is pushing for the most important near-term work?

Someone is finally at least talking about starting some kind of Reduced Gravity test hardware!

SpaceX? No.
Blue Origin? Nope.
Boeing+Lockheed=ULA? Nah.
ESA? NASA? No and for the umpteenth budget year, No again.


It’s an odd way to start but it might at least be a start.Here’s the story:
(and direct: ).

Here is why it isn’t science fiction:

And, here it is as clearly as it can ever be said:

Yellow, Grey and Brown

Back during the holiday break, about when a young researcher was looking for overview pointers on closed loops, I came across an Irish government proposal on human waste recycling for crop fertilization. And for the life of me I can’t find that now. Going through my phone’s search history – why the heck did I want to know how tall Karl Urban is? – I find a number of related papers but not that exact one. And that one is important because it clearly goes into the positives of human grey, brown and yellow waste recycling in the real world.
And that one, I think it was dated 2018, was interesting for an American because it based its points on how some European countries, like Ireland, process their wastes already which are fundamentally different from how things are done traditionally here in the States. It being targeted at Irish government readers, these points were made very casually because things in Ireland are simply known to the people of Ireland,
My memory tells me that after being quite intrigued by reading this proposal, that just after I went looking for more information and my phone history shows an article that I know I read shortly after that one, from a site called The domain name of that one sounds like a big alert to bias but actually the article was pretty good. It did make me go “darn, guess this isn’t a way after all to get over O’Neill’s saying in The High Frontier that Nitrogen will be one of the biggest uploads to spinning habs for a while.” But then I re-read it and spotted the line:
“In some European countries, household waste is separated from business and industrial waste so land application of sewage sludge is safer for the communities and food supply.”
That was one of those casually mentioned things in the Irish proposal, its target audience grew up with different separation traditions so they aren’t as stuck with the piping that we traditionally have in the US where home sewage is merged into the same pipes as factory and mill and pharma and petro industrial sewage and it all ends up mixed together before it gets dumped into our local treatment plants as one big mess.
What’s this got to do with SSI O’Neill style Space living? A lot. Fundamentally, Nitrogen is a big hole in closed looping offplanet agro, and animal (Human) waste does have Nitrogen and Phosphorus so if you get a big spinner with 50 or a hundred or more Humans then about twice a day from each of them you have raw sources becoming available.  Part of your facility should be efficiently pulling them out of the flow and using as much of the rest as possible for anything and everything they can be used for. Plus, there is that whole “High Fronter Concept” which is, by definition: “Using the material and energy resources of space to improve the human condition on Earth.” Those O’Neillian resources will include People, if People are going to be truly living off planet at some point then some of the most important of them will be those who do Waste Recycling.
If you are laughing then you have never been a home owner who had their bathroom stop working correctly – how much were you willing to pay 6 hours after a big breakfast, and how much did you end up paying because that’s just the going rate for the experts.
Waste Recycling is going to be a VERY important job, and those who do it up there, efficiently, with the cutting edges of the tech, will surely be a great value even to the folks down here who have no interest in ever going more than a few miles from the place they were born.
I wish I could find that darned proposal. But here’re a few things maybe worth looking at:
The book “Pipe Dreams” by Chelsea Wald. It’s a new book, I just got it at Barnes & Noble, it was right on the shelf in the Science section.
And there are the books: “The Humanure Handbook, 4th Edition: S**t in a Nutshell” by Joseph C Jenkins and, maybe, “The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters” by Rose George. I haven’t read these yet, they may be interesting or somewhat helpful as starters.

Technology for Human Space Settlement