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A Future History of Manned Space Travel

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:21 am
Here is a fictional timeline I created for the development of space travel:

1969 - First manned landing on the moon.
1998 - International space station starts operation
2016 - Second series of manned moon landings
2020 - Establishment of permanent lunar colony
2023 - First manned landing on Mars
2025 - Date usually quoted for commencement of large scale zero-G industries in Earth orbit
2027 - Establishment of Mars colony
2030 - Automated probes sent to nearby star systems Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, and Epsilon Eridani. Transit time is to be 56 - 103 years. Information to be transmitted back will be subject to the speed of light limit.
2036 - Lunar and Martian colonies become independent
2038 - Commencement of mining operations in asteroid belt by various coporations and governments
2049 - New probes sent to Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, and Epsilon Eridani. They use new gravitational field propulsions systems. Transit times to be 14 - 31 years. They will overtake probes sent in 2030.
2068 - Information starts arriving from Alpha Centauri probe launched in 2049. Disappointing new that the only two major planets have highly eccentric orbits with large temperature variations. No life detected.
2089 - Information starts arriving from probe launched to Tau Ceti in 2049. Eleven major planets detected. One contains non-intelligent, non-mobile life similar to plants.
2091 - Population of Mars colony passes one million mark.
2093 - Manned colonization vessel sent to Tau Ceti with 21 colonists. Transit time will be 25 years. Additional colonists to follow in 2095 and 2096. Great risk for colonists because conditions at destination uncertain.
2132 - Humans have colonized three neighboring solar systems successfully.
2138 - Word arrives that half of Epsilon Eridani colonists have died in disease outbreak.
2165 - Human space now includes 14 worlds and is growing rapidly.
2183 - First contact with intelligent aliens when Electus ship arrives in orbit at Sigma Draconis colony.

Will humans do something like this? Should we? Do you want this to happen?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 3,354 • Replies: 20
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:23 am
@Brandon9000,
Looks good, except I would add in a large part about our space stations - it's far more important for us to get functional space stations running, and to start exploiting the asteroid belt, than it is to have a colony on Mars or the moon.

Cycloptichorn
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Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:30 am
I agree that we need to get busy in the asteroid belt--lots of resources to be harvested there, and there are not likely to be any clashes with tree huggers.

As for the rest of it, i just don't think that at any time within the next few centuries, at least, you will have governments willing to put out the kind of cash needed to do things like set up and maintain a colony on Mars, never mind interstellar colonization efforts. Governments are run by politicians (nothing else would work). Politicians base their programs on what they think the people want or will tolerate. Their primary goal is to get re-elected, so they usually have a "don't rock the boat" attitude. The few exceptions are those who are able to "sell" a vision to the people. Selling the people the idea of generations of sacrifice to benefit someone other than themselves isn't likely to work very well.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:34 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I agree that we need to get busy in the asteroid belt--lots of resources to be harvested there, and there are not likely to be any clashes with tree huggers.

As for the rest of it, i just don't think that at any time within the next few centuries, at least, you will have governments willing to put out the kind of cash needed to do things like set up and maintain a colony on Mars, never mind interstellar colonization efforts. Governments are run by politicians (nothing else would work). Politicians base their programs on what they think the people want or will tolerate. Their primary goal is to get re-elected, so they usually have a "don't rock the boat" attitude. The few exceptions are those who are able to "sell" a vision to the people. Selling the people the idea of generations of sacrifice to benefit someone other than themselves isn't likely to work very well.


That's why I like the asteroid belt: it's Private Industry waiting to explode.

Cycloptichorn
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:36 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Yeah, that seems plausible to me . . .
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:39 am
@Brandon9000,
It seems a bit compressed.

A martian colony will have few people after only 8-16 years. It will probably take decades to get the equipment there to come close to making them self sufficient. I would put it more on the order of 200 years before we leave solar system.
Brandon9000
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:41 am
@parados,
parados wrote:

It seems a bit compressed.

A martian colony will have few people after only 8-16 years. It will probably take decades to get the equipment there to come close to making them self sufficient. I would put it more on the order of 200 years before we leave solar system.

This is an optimistic scenario.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 11:46 am
@Brandon9000,
I think this plan is an imperative to human survival and advancement as a sentient species (in the arenas of culture and overall knowledge). I just hope enough people in high places hold the same necessary long term vision that you are capable of understanding.

Here is a worst case scenario if we don't even try to take your hypothetical pilgrimage into colonizing space...

2016 - Second series of manned moon landings
2020 - Establishment of permanent lunar colony.
2021 - Congress turns down allocation of funding to NASA to maintain/upgrade advance orbital asteroid warning system.
2022 - Congress closes down lunar colony as they can't imagine wasting anymore taxpayers' money on that endeavor when that money needs to be wasted on each individual congressman and woman's own personally staked pork belly projects.
[2027 - First manned landing on Mars and Establishment of Mars colony never occur. Science for science sake?! Pshaw! say the conservative critics. "There is no immediate profit for me as an individual for me to care about the potential benefits from that," so sayeth the near science illiterate Congressional naysayers.]

2030 - Unnoticed Extinction level Event asteroid hits somewhere (ironically) in between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers on Easter morning (of all days).

EFFECTIVELY? The End to our collective story!
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 12:28 pm
I think aliens would more likely contact us before we contact them. They would want to tell us to keep our paws off their planet.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 12:32 pm
@NickFun,
NickFun wrote:

I think aliens would more likely contact us before we contact them. They would want to tell us to keep our paws off their planet.

Right. My fictional schedule shows the first alien encounter occurring when aliens make contact with a human interstellar colony.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 09:21 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
2049 - New probes sent to Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, and Epsilon Eridani. They use new gravitational field propulsions systems.

Direct gravitational manipulation implies a fundamental shift in our understanding of basic physics. I think this is unlikely by 2049. If it were to occur I think the resultant alteration of our basic view of space/time would be so altered that "distance" itself might become meaningless to us. Armed with such knowledge, the Universe might not be considered a big place any more, and shortly the human race might not be so human any longer. Hard to predict the motivations and desires that transpire after that.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 09:50 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
Armed with such knowledge, the Universe might not be considered a big place any more, and shortly the human race might not be so human any longer. Hard to predict the motivations and desires that transpire after that.


A very cogent point.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 09:52 pm
Were it possible for me to travel in an interstellar vehicle, with sufficient O2 and food and water for many years, when i reached a certain point in my physical deterioration due to age, i'd take the zero g route to slowly slip out of existence. My only other requirement would be a good library of books and music.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 10:06 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

Brandon9000 wrote:
2049 - New probes sent to Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, and Epsilon Eridani. They use new gravitational field propulsions systems.

Direct gravitational manipulation implies a fundamental shift in our understanding of basic physics. I think this is unlikely by 2049. If it were to occur I think the resultant alteration of our basic view of space/time would be so altered that "distance" itself might become meaningless to us. Armed with such knowledge, the Universe might not be considered a big place any more, and shortly the human race might not be so human any longer. Hard to predict the motivations and desires that transpire after that.

Granted, this is a very aggressive schedule. Direct manipulation of gravity might be an outgrowth of quantum field theory, but who knows. It might overcome the limitations on acceleration imposed by the need to avoid driving the crew through the floor, since the fields might envelop both the structure and the crew.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 10:06 pm
I think the moon colony statement and the asteroid mining thing are viable. Hydogen farming on the moon could provide a means to power colonies and refuel vehicles, when combined with solar energy.

T
K
O
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Oct, 2009 12:24 pm
"Warp Drive, When?" by NASA:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/technology/warp/warp.html
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Oct, 2009 12:34 pm
@Brandon9000,
That's allotta hypothetical science there. Bookmarked it for further browsing.
Thanks for the link.
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Oct, 2009 08:08 pm
It would be possible to travel to the stars without warp speed. The closer one comes to the speed of light the more time for the traveler slows down. Therefore, if it takes 20 years Earth time to travel to a star it would only seem to the traveler to take a few months.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Oct, 2009 05:26 am
@NickFun,
NickFun wrote:

It would be possible to travel to the stars without warp speed. The closer one comes to the speed of light the more time for the traveler slows down. Therefore, if it takes 20 years Earth time to travel to a star it would only seem to the traveler to take a few months.

True, but getting that close to the speed of light is far beyond our present capabilities. The fastest man made object in history was the small space probe Helios 1, which achieved a speed of 158,000 mph. The speed of light is 670,000,000 mph. It isn't clear how we're going to achieve a speed like that, particularly if we never try.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Oct, 2009 05:59 am
@tsarstepan,
Ive always heard that, for any substantive star travel, were gonna have to be able to mess with spacetime itself if we cant travel faster than light.

AS far as "mining" asteroids, I dont see what they give us besides ferronickel compounds. We have basically, all the resources we should need for a population of up to 8 Billion (cf LEakey R.) After that, colonization can utilize offplanet resources.

Ti, Al, and rare earths will be of greater demand that ferronickel mins.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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