You are on the Highway. You suddenly hear a rattling sound from your car and warning signs start to go crazy. You try to find a parking spot to stop your car and take a look into the problem. Finally, you park the vehicle on top of a nearby tower, grab your mask and gravity boots and step out of it with your own personal AI assistant to help you fix your car. Oh! Did I forget to tell you that this was a flying car? And also, that you were living in a city on Mars?
Was that taking it a bit too far? I don’t blame you if you think so because even though we are getting closer to the concept of flying cars (Thanks to AeroMobil, Google, and a bunch of other companies), Space Highways and space colonization still seem pretty much far away. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Recently, we are seeing history being made by several private and government space agencies that will definitely take space exploration to a whole new level. So, what all can we hope that will come true as humanity leaps further into the space?
THE OG SPACE RACE: The Beginning
The theories of Galileo and Ptolemy, German V2 rockets, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik, Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind…there are a lot of points in history that can be considered as the beginning of man’s obsession to know what was behind the stars. But, when the USSR and the USA were busy collecting trophies in space, it also fuelled a race for developing new and effective technology to achieve their goals and also inspiring other nations to join them.
Space Shuttles, Space Stations, rovers, and many inventions came to life as humanity reached further into space. But there was a question that everyone had: How far can we actually reach?
THE SILICON VALLEY SPACE RACE
Fast Forwarding this into the present, Space Technology came a long way…and so did the participants of the space race. Just like how you can spot the difference between the making of “2000: A Space Odyssey” and “The Martian”, you can also see how much science had shifted its gear in a couple of decades.
With Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, along with NASA, ISRO, and many other government and private agencies are accomplishing wonders in Space. Falcon 9, Starship, Ingenuity Helicopter on mars, and many more
projects are testing the boundaries of space exploration.
SPACE TECHNOLOGY BEYOND 2021
Now, Let’s get into the pulp. Why did I spend all this time taking a history session on Space exploration? Just to show you how exponentially fast we have developed. When SpaceX’s Falcon 9 made the first successful Vertical Take-off and Vertical landing, it was also converting something which was only seen in cartoons and movies into reality. So, what can we expect in the future?
With space agencies cooking a bunch of space programs such as Artemis Lunar Missions (NASA), SLIM(JAXA), and many more, Scientists are working to boost their sight in the dark. With the beloved Hubble telescope decommissioned, NASA is looking at 4 proposals to ascend the throne and help us find exoplanets, black holes, and other secrets of the universe: LUVOIR, HabEx, Lynx, and Origins space telescope.
Remember AUTO from WALL-E? While praying that the results won’t be the same, we can agree that AI is the future of everything. They can be used for pilot assistance, collision avoidance, spacecraft development, and even long-distance interstellar travel. Many still don’t know that Robonaut 2, a humanoid is already there at the ISS for assisting the astronauts.
Space Commercialization and Colonization
“Mankind was born on earth, but it was never meant to die here”. Many of you will not forget this quote from Interstellar and there are people believing that the context for this iconic dialogue is not far away. Out of all those, colonization of mars is the closest thing to the possible I’d say. There are many other scenarios like the O’Neill cylinder, colonization of the moon, etc may happen as time flows.
Space technology is evolving constantly. As of now, 21 billion kilometers is the furthest any manmade probe has traveled (Voyager-1). But, as time passes and technology grows, I am pretty sure that we won’t be keeping movies like “Interstellar” under the “Science Fiction” Section…