Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Final Frontier: Preludes to Deep Space Travel

According to Technology’s promise, space is the next great frontier in the rise of human civilization. There are five major path-breaking space projects or activities which are projected to open up the limitless expanse of the universe in the next several decades. Starting in the near-term, space tourism promises to create a new industry and excitement attracting new sources of economic backing to expand space usage. Building on this new excitement, opportunities and economic backing, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will work to establish a moon based colony. This will provide and establish a launching point for planetary travels within our solar system.  Given the types of environments and distances within our solar system, the first destination currently being planned is manned missions to Mars. The final two areas that the human race will continue to strive are more difficult to achieve as they rely upon variables outside of our control. The first is extraterrestrial or alien contact and the final area is inter-stellar travel.  Alien contact is more about creating technology capable of identifying alien life rather than actually physically meeting or interacting with it. This is based on the final area of inter-stellar space travel (Halal, 2008). While the Alpha Centauri star system is the closest to our sun, the nearest star to our sun is Proxima Centauri at approximately 4.22 light-years away (Sessions, 2012). Even with a propulsion system that was just 1% of the speed of light, which is currently not possible today, it would take four hundred years just to reach Proxima Centauri!  Therefore, these last two goals and objectives are far term goals that could take centuries for mankind to achieve.  
The likelihood of all five of these predications occurring in the next 100 years is probably low. However, the likelihood of the first three occurring in this same time-frame are highly probable given that they reside within the control of the human race.

Halal, W. E. (2008). Technology's Promise. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Sessions, L., (2012). Downloaded from

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