Prof. Hermann Oberth was one of the last classical geniuses.

It is incredible to see how people still had great global, futuristic ideas until the 1970s and 1980s and now we are just stuck in petty squabbles, management of "immigration", etc

Here are excerpts of his famous book:


By Prof. Hermann Oberth (From: Primer For Those Who Would Govern, 1987


The coming decades will be dramatic enough for humanity even without atomic wars or other military confrontations. Dangers such as overpopulation, destruction of the environment, a decreasing supply of raw materials, educational and intellectual deficiencies in a large part of the population, dangers such as these are gradually becoming apparent to the average European, American, and Asian and are forcing the governments to exercise foresight, to be responsible, and to deal with more problems than ever before.


A. The Space Reflector, Space Travel, Space Stations, and Wind-Driven Power Stations

In order to gain time against the greatest danger, namely overpopulation by people who are incapable of culture, it is urgent that we take in hand the following technological projects.

I have already discussed a few of these in my writings, Ways to Space Travel, The Space Reflector and The Kite Power Station (a wind-driven power station at high altitudes).

With the aid of the space reflector we can:

- increase the amount of arable land on earth,
- improve the climate,
- illuminate large cities,
- keep the Arctic harbors free of ice,
- provide the earth with a source of energy which is not harmful to the environment and which can also be used to produce electricity,
- provide energy which can be used as microwave beams to propel rockets into space, etc.

In my book, Ways to Space Travel, I described as early as 1929 the rocket technology which is used today, the future design of an electrical spaceship for interplanetary travel, the smelting of lunar ore, and the lunar centrifuge necessary to get this material to the 60-degree liberation point of the system Earth-Sun and store it there.

This material is to be used to build manned space stations, the space reflector, and other large construction projects. I suggested the construction of terrariums on the moon for people, as well as the building of space telescopes and the study and use of asteroids.

The wind-driven power station at high altitudes, which is not built on towers or poles but is carried by balloons up to 12,000 meters, could alleviate the earth's energy shortage considerably. Cheap electricity could be used to desalt sea water and propel traffic on the highways by means of electrically-powered tow cables, thus eliminating some environmental problems and saving oil.

Producing electricity by utilizing such natural sources as waves, tides, and the sun is what I consider to be our most urgent task in the coming years.

Many of the power stations driven by the waves at the mouth of the Amazon River would also cause the loam which is floating in the water to settle, and land can thus be reclaimed. The same thing could also be done at the mouths of other large rivers.


B. Water Utilization

Water is our most valuable raw material. It should be employed to better advantage than it has been up to now.

For instance, central Asia could be irrigated by closing off the northern part of the Caspian Sea with a dam and directing the waters of the Volga to central Asia. An additional possibility for irrigating central Asia could be achieved if the waters of the Danube, the Dniester, the Dnieper, and the Don Rivers were combined after damming off the northern part of the Black Sea.

This water should then be directed by a canal into the Sea of Azov and then into the Caspian Sea by way of the Manych Depression. If this were done, lakes and forests would be created in central Asia which would improve the climate (mild winters and early spring) there as well as Europe.

Even Saudi Arabia and Iran could be irrigated, if the Persian Gulf were sealed off at the Strait of Hormuz and the water of the Shatt el Arab used. Of course, sea water from the Persian Gulf would also have to be drawn out and desalted.

Too much water from the Mississippi and the Nile still flows into the sea.

In Australia, too, water which flows into the ocean would be redirected inland by creating man-made valleys.


C. Water Reservoirs

The sheets of ice over the Antarctic could likewise be thickened in order to create a reservoir. A 200-kilometer-wide cooling strip could be built up around the land mass. In the glaciers, shafts might be drilled down to the earth's surface; in these shafts cooling liquid circulates which is cooled down from the top and then cools the earth and prevents the glacier from moving.

In doing this care is to be taken that the coolant does not enter the ice mass or sea. The earth will not be driven off its axis or crack as a result of this; only the Platonic year will be a bit longer. Around the North Pole, too, an enclosure of 1000 to 2000 kilometers in diameter could be built.

The walls should reach 4000 meters above sea level. Inside, the water will freeze all the way down to the earth's surface. Later the enclosure will be filled up to the brim with ice and snow. Through these efforts the sea level will drop several meters, and the land will reclaim what the sea once took from it.

All these measures would increase the salt content of the oceans, and they would have to be desalted to the point where they are today. Then, too, the plan of the "King of the Sahara," as de Lesseps, the son of the architect of the Suez Canal, called himself, could be realized. Already at the close of the previous century this man suggested redirecting sea water by means of a canal to the part of the Sahara which lies below sea level.

Additional reservoirs could be created by subterranean water reservoirs, which could be sealed up with deep-sea clay.

Source: An excerpt from the book Primer For Those Who Would Govern by Prof. Hermann Oberth. Translated from the German by Lynne Nibbelink-Kvinnesland and Dr. Benjiman D. Webb.


See also: Hermann Oberth: Father of Space Travel