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I could tell you that we shouldn’t keep all our eggs in this increasingly fragile basket—one good meteor strike and we all join the non-avian dinosaurs. I could tell you that it might be good for us to unite behind a project that doesn’t involve killing one another, that does involve understanding our home planet and the ways we survive on it and what things are crucial to our continuing to survive on it.I could tell you that moving farther out into the solar system might be a good plan, if humanity is lucky enough to survive the next 5.5 billion years and the sun expands enough to fry the Earth.
It works at –263 degrees Celsius, which is balmy for superconductors, but it helps that space is already so damn cold.
problem: food and water Lettuce got to be a hero last August.
Essential to the future of space travel: world peace.
problem: navigation The Deep Space Network, a collection of antenna arrays in California, Australia, and Spain, is the only navigation tool for space.
But as more and more missions take flight, the network is getting congested. So in the near term, NASA is working to lighten the load.
Space Voyage Research Paper Proposal Dissertation
Atomic clocks on the crafts themselves will cut transmission time in half, allowing distance calculations with a single downlink.
For future missions, deep-space navigation expert Joseph Guinn wants to design an autonomous system that would collect images of targets and nearby objects and use their relative location to triangulate a spaceship’s coordinates—no ground control required. “You put a GPS receiver on your car and problem solved.” He calls it a deep-space positioning system—DPS for short.
problem: radiation Outside the safe cocoon of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, subatomic particles zip around at close to the speed of light. Aside from cancer, it can also cause cataracts and possibly Alzheimer’s.
Put decommissioning programs in 90 percent of new launches or you’ll get the Kessler syndrome: One collision leads to more collisions until there’s so much crap up there, no one can fly at all.
That might be a century hence—or a lot sooner if space war breaks out. ) starts blowing up enemy satellites, “it would be a disaster,” says Holger Krag, head of the Space Debris Office at the European Space Agency.