The space race has been going on for more than 60 years now. At first, it began as a competition between global world powers for Earth’s orbit. But today, multiple private companies are pushing the progress further to make space travels affordable and accessible for anyone.
And that’s only one of their goals. As space-traveling technologies progress, humans will explore more and more of the unknown void and discover new systems and planets. With our own planet running out of resources, our civilization might need to seek minerals somewhere else.
The first step is to improve our planet’s ecological situation and make all industries as power- and resource-efficient as possible. We need to stabilize the “health” of the planet we call home. But finding another suitable place for a settlement will still be important. It will provide us with new opportunities and dramatically boost the development of technologies.
So, what are the milestones of future space colonization? Let’s find out.
Reaching the Orbit
Reaching an orbit costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It also requires months of preparation. Of course, it’s all logical, because launching a rocket into space isn’t exactly your usual homework task – you can’t pay an essay writing service like this Essaywritingservice.com to help you out. Engineers calculate every tiny centimeter of flight and predict all the possible situations.
But to make space colonization closer, we need to improve the efficiency of taking any spaceship to orbit. Possibly, spaceships in the future will be assembled and serviced on an orbital station or Moonbase. But for now, there’s no way to colonize other planets if our own orbit is something we struggle to reach.
The next step after making orbit travels efficient and affordable, we need to finish what was started. For various economical reasons and the lack of that superpower race, humanity stopped the Moon exploration. For now, at least. While it’s not determined that we need to colonize it, a few outposts and many scientific bases need to be there.
It will provide researchers and engineers with data and a perfect opportunity to test all their inventions and space traveling solutions. The low gravity and lack of atmosphere are ideal for testing such things as oxygen generators and low-gravity planetary vehicles, for example.
Also, it will become a must-see place for space travelers. Regular Earth-to-Moon travels will increase the interest in space exploration even more, thus pushing the progress.
Engines and Life-Support
It takes 3 days to reach the Moon with our current technologies. But to reach Mars, this amount extends to 7-9 months. Needless to say, the crew needs to live through it. That means, they need to have enough supplies. Amounts of food, water, and oxygen need to be sufficient for a few-year journey.
Of course, all that adds enormous amounts of weight to a spacecraft. It makes the spaceship’s fuel efficiency very poor. Also, the more weight you need to push, the more fuel you need to carry. And the longer the journey is, the more oxygen astronauts need, let alone the possible medical issues. That gives us 2 main tasks to solve:
- Engine efficiency
- Life support systems and oxygen generation
So, the first crucial step is to increase the efficiency of our engines. Tests on our orbit and Moon travels should help a lot. But the best option would be to invent new engine types. The current ones have gigantic fuel consumption. They are used because of the lack of alternatives.
Researching new types, on the other hand, will open new horizons for humanity. It will make our Solar System much easier to explore and utilize for our needs. But what’s even more important – exploring and possibly colonizing other planets and their satellites will become a doable task.
The second task is to improve the existing life support systems and find a way to produce oxygen. It’s not possible to create breathable air out of nothing, but experimenting should provide us with a better solution than carrying tons of oxygen tanks.
Perhaps, finding a way to make plants adapt to the space environment will help. By modifying their genetic data or with help of artificial evolution we could get to know how to make plants produce air.
Right now it’s not efficient to carry enormous amounts of plants to fulfill the oxygen demand. And that’s not even considered that they need sunlight to photosynthesize.
Another solution might be some kind of hibernation. Something that would allow astronauts to “sleep” during the whole time of the journey. Such a life-support system would reduce the weight of resources needed for the trip.
All that said, our first target is already determined – Mars. You may have already heard about some of the Mars colonization programs. The choice is logical for many reasons – from the proximity to adaptable gravity and a decent atmosphere.
As mentioned earlier, we need to find a way to reach the planet fast. But the most important task would be making the colony self-sufficient. That includes every aspect of human needs. Air, water, food, energy – everything needs to be produced there. Otherwise, we will always remain limited by the borders of the Solar System and have to import all resources to the settlements.
Mars will become not only a colony, where humans could live with comfort and work on new technologies but a test and research site. Because this planet must have countless hidden resources. Finding and utilizing them will not only improve and create new tech but may even answer the question of whether there was an intelligent civilization on the red planet.
After these 4 main goals are achieved, humanity will have a much better understanding of space. Making colonies self-sufficient and engines fast will give us the ability to travel beyond our system, to new and unknown ones.
Moreover, technological progress in space exploration will improve the quality of our lives. Who knows, maybe in a few decades traveling from New York to Mars will become a few-hour trip.