Over 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong took one small step for man and a giant leap for mankind. Most of humanity’s knowledge about foreign worlds comes from robotic exploration through various orbiters, rovers, and landers. They have been extensively used to study numerous celestial bodies including the Sun, Moon, Mercury and, Venus. Voyager 1 even went past the orb cloud into the far reaches of the cosmos. It took 40 years to just go 19 light-hours away from earth and would still take a millennium to reach the next star system. With tons of milestones being achieved in the space industry that, humans themselves are too thrilled to make any interstellar journey possible in the next 50-60 years.
Various major breakthroughs will exponentially transform the space technology and in no time, mankind will be seen acquiring planets. Billionaires buying personal small moons as vacation homes will just be something normal. People having small jets parked in their backyard to meet their relative who lives on the neighbouring planet.
These things must sound like a dream but it’s happening fast.
1. Breakthrough Starshot Initiatives
It was Launched 2015 to develop a fleet of light sails spacecraft named StarChip which will be capable of reaching at least 20% the speed of light. Cofounded by none other than Mark Zuckerberg and backed by noble physicist, one of them being Stephen Hawking aims to reach alpha Centauri star system 4.37 light-years away.
2. James Webb Space Telescope
Planned to be the next version of Hubble Space Telescope with much-improved resolution and sensitivity. The primary mirror, the Optical Telescope element, comprises of 18 hexagonal mirror segments made of gold-plated beryllium which combine to create a 6.5-metre diameter mirror much larger than the Hubble’s 2.4-metre mirror. The feature to observe in a lower frequency range, from long-wavelength visible light allows high redshift object.
3. Artemis Program
Current ongoing crewed spaceflight program by NASA partnered with ESA with the sole goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the moon’s lunar south pole region by 2024. This would bring about establishing a sustainable presence on the moon. NASA this year requested an additional 1.6 billion dollars fund for the mission for the fiscal year 2020.
4. Orbital spacecraft
Boeing is developing Starline Spacecraft in the hope to begin carrying astronauts to the ISS in 2021.Companies such as Blue Origin and Virgin galactic specializing in what is called as Sub-Orbital space tourism aiming to give zero-gravity somersaults to passengers able to pay a big amount for it.
5. This could be a very interesting one, New electric propulsion chamber.
Yes, you heard it, Think of it as EV Rocket. Sounds reasonable. At the Aerospace Corporation’s El Secundo Campus, electric propulsion is the new thrust technology for future rockets is being tested. Unlike fire and smoke, this harnesses electric energy to ionize gas into plasma, which is accelerated out of the thruster through electromagnetic forces. The fuel is still weak to launch through the atmosphere but once it reaches into space the true potential is put out.
6. Parker Solar Probe mission
A scientific mission to unlock the secret of sun’s corona and solar wind. The first-ever mission to touch the sun.
7. Europan Jupiter System Mission-Laplace
A joint mission by NASA/ESA to explore the various Jupiter’s moons with a primary focus on EUROPAN and Ganymede.
8. Titan Saturn System Mission
Again, a joint mission by NASA-ESA, with an aim for an exploration of Saturn and its moons Titan and Enceladus.
Both robotic and manned exploration of deep space will reach advance potentials in the coming decade to reach life-harbouring moons and even interstellar worlds. By 2050 it is possible to have a leap beyond the horizons of just earth or mars.