How possible is it that space travel will be available to the general public
Ever since the space race (that ended in 1969) territories beyond Earth have been deemed to be one of final frontiers of human conquest. But how possible is it that space travel will be available to the general public? Will regular people ever get the chance to fly into on some sort of commercial spacecraft? And is deep-space travel possible in the future?
The answer, quite surprisingly, is an astounding yes to these questions, but it will depend on what type of space travel your thinking of, so here a list of 5 the most likely and unlikely scenarios for space travel in the future:
1) The possibility of warp speed…
According to the Professor at Sydney University, Geraint Lewis warp-drives are theoretically possible as it aligns with Einstein’s theory of relativity, but the material that is required to make such a warp-drive is negative density energy, a material that scientists do not currently have. The discovery of warp drives would thereafter make colonizing the universe much more possible as warp drives can bend space to create wormholes to jump through instead of just traveling at lightspeed which is 300,000 kilometers per second and would take 4 years to travel to the nearest star and 2 million years to travel to the nearest galaxy if we could indeed master lightspeed.
2) Can you survive outside the Van Allen radiation belt?
The Van Allen radiation belt is an electromagnetic field that protects the earth from solar flares and other forms of cosmic radiation. This then presents us with a danger for any form of future long-term space travel, as the more someone is exposed to the radiation the more they will become affected by the radiation. Even normal commercial airlines pilots are affected by some levels of radiation such as a higher risk of UV exposure, so they too have to limit their time flying up in the air.
3) Commercial moon flights may soon be reality
The Moon Express’ Lunar Scout route is seemingly destined to become open to the general public in less than a year, meaning than it’ll soon be possible for anyone to fly to the Moon and land on a Lunar outpost. This will be a great experience for any science buffs who want to walk in the footsteps of space giants like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, or anyone who wants to see the Earth from a new perspective.
4) NASA’s expedition to Mars
By the year 2030 as outlined in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, NASA hopes to have sent people out to explore the surface of Mars by space travel. Moreover, under this Authorization Act NASA also hopes to trial new space travel technologies such as Solar Electric Propulsion as a future means of space transportation. So the prospects of deeper space travel do indeed look a little more promising, however NASA is still in the midst of planning how they’re are going to deal with the exposure from cosmic radiation that the astronauts will face on their trip to Mars and on the surface of Mars.
5) The promise of solar electric propulsion (SEP)
Solar electric propulsion uses solar rays to ionize atoms in the chemical propellant xenon to which the ions of this chemical propellant are then expelled from the atoms by a strong electrical field. The expelled ions then generate a force great enough to push the vehicle through space to its intended destination. SEP has also been described as a more economic means of space travel as its cost is relatively little to push the spacecraft through space by using solar power and it is also more environmentally friendly then rocket fuel.
So even though the conundrum of sci-fi warp-drives has not been resolved and prolonged space travel may be problematic outside the Van Allen belt, it still appears that space travel will be possible. As commercial flights to the moon are becoming more available, and the expedition to Mars is slowly becoming a reality - so there certainly seems to be a lot of potential for a more commonplace use of space travel in humanity’s future, as we expand outwards into the stars.