I don’t think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.Stephen Hawking (said in an Interview to the Daily Telegraph, October 2001)
When I read this quote for the first time, I was scared! Especially when it come from a genius like Stephen Hawking. I began to read more on space and explore the possibilities on living in space. Which planet or satellite would I prefer to live on? Or is it going to be a space ship which will harbor its citizens. How would life be…
To understand the future one must invest time in learning history. I enrolled for the Big History Project which divides the history in 8 interesting thresholds and 10 units. Starting from the formation of the universe to the future of life. On the other hand, I picked up the famous book “A Brief History of Time” which describes everything from the Big Bang to the Black Hole. More on a scientific side than Social Science. Written in a simplified language for common man’s understanding. You may try both the options, if you are really interested to explore.
Now, coming back to the year 2002, (we just did time travel) a year later after the above mentioned quote, SpaceX was formed by Elon Musk – The man who gave a new perspective to space travel. According to him it is not just scientist or astronauts who can tour the space or orbit the planet in 90 minutes. Even private astronauts or explorers can travel to space to experience it. Conventionally the Russian Soyuz (saw-yooz) carries people and supplies to and from the International space station. The Soyuz is like a lifeboat. At least one Soyuz is always attached to the space station. If there were an emergency on the space station, the crew could use the Soyuz to leave the space station and return to Earth. The American astronauts too use the Russian technology to move up in space. SpaceX proposed the same travel at lesser cost to NASA. While I write the post today, SpaceX and NASA postponed their first manned mission today due to bad weather. Hopefully they plan to launch on 30th May 2020.
Now, SpaceX is just one company which is popular on social media. We have Boeing, Blue Origin, ARCA, Firefly, Exos and Virgin Galactic to name few. They plan to take you for space tourism. Obviously not for free, they are private, commercial ventures for profit. Currently, it takes a fortune for someone to travel to space and come back; for example Dennis Tito paid $20 million for the trip into outer space. Still, one successful mission and plans for more don’t guarantee that the private sector space effort will thrive, warns Harvard Business School professor Matt Weinzierl, who has studied the private space race. The government and the private sector must continue to invest in larger and more ambitious missions, like a return to the moon, to expand capabilities and build on the success, he says. In terms of the duration or vacation time you have at hand there are several packages being planned by the space tourism startups. So the trip to moon is only three days away in case you are looking for weekend get away. In case you have more time than explore Mars or go for a life time journey beyond the asteroid belts. Return flights are under maintenance!
SpaceX aims to make life Multi-planetary.
The reality so far remains humble – SpaceX has never taken people to space before. We are waiting for the 30th May launch where two astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley would escape Earth in the dragon capsule. Today (28th May 2020), President Trump left the corona-virus meeting and flew to Florida in hope of watching the first launch. Yes, we are talking about space while we battle our days in the ongoing pandemic on Earth. One might view the space programs as waste of resources which could save lives on our planet while the others see it as human progress. We all have the right to express our views on the planet Earth, I don’t know the laws on other planets 🙂 A quick take on this point: Almost every sector has benefited from sending people into space. The Apollo guidance computer was a predecessor to the microcomputer, now found in all smartphones. Clothes are more fire-resistant because of research on space fires. Remotely monitoring the health of astronauts has led to revolutionary systems for helping patients on Earth. Diseases behave and develop differently in microgravity, which assists scientists in finding cures. I wish this time they find a cure for corona.
As of today (2020), we have a lot of time to prepare for a trip off the planet. So its not happening immediately. Better be grounded and look up to the sky!
CAUTION: There are people selling land on Moon (lunarland.com) with current discount coupon of 15% off. There is no legitimacy of these deeds because as per the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subjected to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”