Preparing for "Big Science" AWE
- Until now, kite energy has been a solely a small-scale R&D field, but this is about to change. Sooner or later AWES engineering science research will take on the character of "Big Science", with thousands of workers and huge budgets, along with geopolitical dimensions. A sense of vast globalized crisis, with terrawatt-scale needs, drives the logic of AWE science bigness.
Its currently up to us to study the mixed history of Big Science and try to early-influence its role in AWE toward a positive outcome. The danger is well known, that "military industrial" neo-fascism may dominate. This need not be an inevitable outcome, if enough of us are vigilant and active against the danger. We may see abusive Big Science AWE plays by individual governments and large corporations that can be countered by a global networked science cooperative movement.
Perhaps the best model we have for acceptable Big Science is international scientific cooperation in civilian space programs. The follow-on commercialization may follow the history of international consortiums behind aerospace giants like Boeing and Airbus (mergers & acquisitions => consolidation => regulated anti-trust). These models are not ideal, but we can do better as we build on the positive aspects.
AWE Big Science can happen very fast (Manhattan Project) or rather slow (fusion, Higgs, etc. particle physics). The likely timeline driver of AWE Big Science will be the sense of urgent or distant crisis.