56 years, 5 months and 14 days ago, Sputnik I was launched into orbit. The satellite was a 58 cm metal sphere, weighing in at a modest 83 kg. Those who were fortunate enough to be growing up in this exciting era will today be near their retirement. In America, they will start looking into properties in Florida. In Europe, they will read brochures for bus journeys to strange places, where they can buy postcards to show their grandchildren that yes, there is actually a gigantic salt mine in Poland or Who would have thought that there is a Christmas market in Lübeck already in August? And the Santa figurines are so much cheaper than they are at home! In Asia, they will nag their children for grandchildren, or (has the previous nagging been successful) nag their grandchildren for grandgrandchildren.

But that's all beside the point. My point is that all these charming and mostly tolerable old people will look up in the sky, and let out a silent sigh when realizing that humanity's greatest accomplishment during their lifetime, despite their hopes and dreams when they were young, was to launch slightly larger balls, including some that weren't ball-shaped at all, and some that a few people could stay in for months at a time at only mild discomfort.


I propose a change. In this time of relative peace, I propose that we initiate a project of the kind that this generation has been waiting for their entire life. A milepost in space exploration. Humanity's first collective work of art, and a tribute to science and technology. I envision a future where people will look up at the sky, and rather than feeling despair and hopelessness, they will feel inspired to take on the world, to live in peace, and to enjoy life.

Essentially, we would launch modules into orbit to form a wide and flat ribbon, encircling the earth. It would probably need to be at least ten kilometers wide or so, maybe more. The side facing away from earth is covered with solar panels, because things that we send to space usually are, and traditions are important. On the inside, the side facing the earth, astronauts could drive around on Teslas (charged by said solar panels), participating in a continuous around-the-world race.


To be honest, I'm willing to negotiate about all these things. The solar panels probably have to be there in order to keep the NASA blokes from getting all grumpy, but other than that they are free to do whatever they want with this huge ribbon. The only thing on which I will insist, is that it is painted orange.

Because race car.

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