Mars image courtesy NASA Hubble Image Archive
As we look back after more than a year of work, so much about the project is different, both in the transition from what we envisioned to what we are doing, and in the global environment that surrounds us. What we have created, from the inspiration of an April Fool's Joke, has become the growing drive of a number of talented individuals to accomplish our simple goal: the habitation of space.
These days, our focus has shifted away from the OpenVirgle Google Group that started it all, and we have found other groups with similar aims to work with. Foremost amongst them at this point is the Open Manufacturing Group, which specifically focuses around physical design and creation of materials. Our own centralizing program, the Pointrel Social Semantic Desktop, while progressing slowly, is also starting to gain some ground with its first complete Alpha build. As for the web page, as you can see, it's had a bit of an overhaul. There's also a new Linking to Us section on the new Resources page with a bunch of different banners in various sizes.
On April 1st, 2008, a fierce discussion started at Google's latest effort, Project Virgle. It proposed a grassroots effort to get a colony on Mars. What they didn't expect is that the Internet would respond so positively to what was hastily discovered as an April Fools Joke. Dissatisfied with what that first 24 hours of discussion and work represented, a number of members struck out to do what Google thought was only a joke, and start a real grassroots effort to inhabit space. Thus OpenVirgle was born, with every intention of gathering talent from across the globe, and focusing it all on creating ideas and ways in which humankind can live sustainably in space using free and open source technology.
This project remains a place for all space enthusiasts to cooperate in a playful learning community of individuals and groups chaordically building free and open source knowledge, tools, and simulations, which lay the groundwork for humanity's eventual joyful, compassionate, and diverse expansion into space (including Mars, the Moon, the Asteroids, or elsewhere in the Universe), and also pool our current resources to make all of these ideas a physical reality. We believe that humanity works much better when they work together, and that the fastest way to advance knowledge rapidly is to have it shared equally amongst the largest group possible.
OpenVirgle's mission is, first and foremost, the consolidation of information. There are many pro-space-settlement groups out there, each with great ideas. The problem is, they are all competitive for funding, and they can't seem to agree on space settlement tactics and technologies. We will attempt to bring together all of these ideas and all of this information, and put it all up for proper comparison and discussion. Hopefully, future groups, or future iterations of OpenVirgle ourselves, will be able to use this collected knowledge to "put our eggs into a few more baskets" than just Earth.
We hope to end a history of secrecy and paranoia surrounding high technology development, and bring us all together towards a larger shared purpose, pooling resources and sharing the benefits of our combined work with the entirety of the human race. Yes, it's idealistic, but all the best grassroots efforts are, and if you don't shoot for the stars, you will never leave the planet.
© 2008-2009 OpenVirgle Contributors