space exploration, upgraded
We have the technology, the people, and the money. All we need to do is put the plans in motion.
The National Space Society has a question. What if instead of reusing technology from the 1980s to explore space, we focus on creating a new generation of launch vehicles and colonizing the final frontier? A crisply rendered video set to Fatboy Slim’s famous tune Right Here, Right Now, shows their vision for what the future might look like if we were to embrace their call and invest into updating and expanding our infrastructure in space.
All of the technologies shown are not only possible, but detailed plans and designs for almost every shuttle, rover and habitat have been around for decades. The only two things preventing them from becoming reality are a lack of political incentive and people’s incredulous attitudes towards space exploration. Space travel is thought of as something for the future, something governments do because these projects are far too expensive and unworkable for any private industry. Of course the problem with the idea that something will happen in the future almost by default is that all of the technologies people anticipate never gets built and we start a vicious cycle of procrastination. Nothing gets built because we miraculously expect it to be built on its own by some engineering magic at NASA or DARPA.
Of course this doesn’t mean that we should rush to sink billions into space projects simply for the sake of building high tech vehicles and hoping that it will all pay off in the end. However, we should be thinking about how to expand beyond our planet efficiently and profitably to further our knowledge of our planet, our solar system and the universe around us. That knowledge is going to be very important in the future as humans look for new places to live, new resources and new opportunities. We should start thinking about how to create new technologies and the spinoffs they can offer, updating and upgrading our infrastructure in the process which would enable us to start brand new industries and types of private ventures. The fundamental idea of space oriented non-profits like the NSS is good. They just need some thought and careful planning. Right now, even a little thought on the subject would be a big step forward.