One day in 1978 Al Globus’ housemate brought home a stack of CoEvolution Quarterly issues, including an issue discussing Princeton professor Gerard O’Neill’s vision of free space settlements. Al was electrified. As soon as he graduated he got a job as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center eventually working on Hubble, ISS, X37, shuttle, earth observation, teleoperation, molecular nanotechnology, asteroid mining, and bone development in micro-g wining many awards and publishing many papers along the way. More important, he made two primary contributions to space settlement.
The first was founding and managing the NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest for 6-12th grade students.The second involves revisiting the assumptions of the studies that electrified Al in the first place. Two of these assumptions, the need for radiation shielding and limited human tolerance of rotation, are not quite iron clad as believed. The consequence is that small space settlements in equatorial low Earth orbit may be practical even launching all the materials from Earth. This reduces the mass of the first space settlements by at least two orders of magnitude!