There was an article last year in the New York Times about a California start-up called Inversion that wants to “speed delivery of important items by storing them in orbit.”
[Image: Collage by BLDGBLOG.]
Their goal is to build “earth-orbiting capsules”—“hundreds or thousands of containers”—that could “deliver goods anywhere in the world from outer space.”
The company’s founders imagine the capsules could store artificial organs that are delivered to an operating room within a few hours or serve as mobile field hospitals floating in orbit that would be dispatched to remote areas of the planet.
Purely in terms of this logistical vision, I’m reminded of a DARPA proposal called the “Upward Falling Payloads” program. For that, critical goods, including weapons and war-fighting materiel—but, why not, perhaps also emergency organs for frontline surgery—could be stored underwater, in the middle of the ocean, using “deployable, unmanned, distributed systems that lie on the deep-ocean floor in special containers for years at a time. These deep-sea nodes would then be woken up remotely when needed and recalled to the surface. In other words, they ‘fall upward.’”
Whether or not either one of these plans is technically feasible is less interesting to me than the underlying idea of caching valuable objects in remote locations for later recovery. The world would become a series of hiding spots for artifacts and tools of potential future importance, the Earth reengineered for its archival utility.
Perhaps the Anthropocene is really just a world denuded of its ecological functions, all life other than human vacuously replaced by landscape-scale storage facilities housing just-in-time detritus—the psychosis of a species surrounded only by things it can store and retrieve at will.