Sunday, 19 May 2013

Renewing the Space Race


Captain James Kirk of the Starship Enterprise flies around the Universe with the mandate to boldly go where no man has gone before.

It may be fiction, but reality is slowly approaching the final frontier.

Space has often been one of mystery for mankind, with some civilizations worshiping the heavenly bodies in our solar system while others such as Copernicus and Galileo have studied it. Attitudes were high when the United States landed a man on the moon, but ever since then little has been done. However, slowly the modern world seems to be becoming more excited about the prospects of exploring space.

With excitement arising from news such as Curiosity the Mars rover conducting experiments on the red planet indicating that the planet was friendly to simple microbial life forms ages ago, or Voyager 1 becoming the first man-made object to leave the solar system, the public has again become friendlier towards space exploration.
Maybe one day. Although warp drive is being worked on by NASA.
Most recently the hype was centering on Mars One, a project that intends to install the first human settlement on Mars by 2023 and has asked for applications from anyone to be part of the team. Already 78 000 individuals have completed the initial part of the application process. Most obvious is the question of the feasibility of the mission, which the organization has prepared a less than remarkable answer to. Generally, the Mars One project states that they will require a Launcher, a Lander, a Transit Vehicle on Mars, a Supply and Living Unit and a Life Support Unit while also developing a Mars Suit. However, no specifics have been given.

While Mars One grapples with the idea of colonizing the large red planet, private space companies are arising. The most popular one has been SpaceX, which signed an agreement with NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. While the media has been focusing on SpaceX, other companies are developing new intriguing spaceships such as Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo while Blue Origin led by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is developing the Space Vehicle. Bigelow Aerospace’s goal is to create habitats in space, and already has two prototypes in orbit. However, these companies ambitions pale in comparison to Golden Spike Corporation, which is offering a trip to the moon, for $500 million a ticket.

With private industry joining the space race, the world of Captain James Kirk may become a reality sooner rather than later. 

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