Prepare Launch! 🚀
T-minus 15 seconds. Guidance is internal.
12, 11, 10, 9,
Ignition Sequence Start.
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0.
All engine running.
And Lift-Off! We have a Lift-Off! 32 minutes past the hour. Lift-Off on Apollo 11! Tower Clear!
Ever since I can remember, these are the words that first introduced me to the cosmos. I have always been fascinated by the stars and asking questions that nobody has answers to. I have always been a curious child. And so have our ancestors. But being curious and wondering about what lies ahead does not compare to taking action and finding the answers to the unsolved questions.
And it all began with one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind. 🚀
T-minus 15 seconds, Guidance is Internal . . .
“Many years ago, British Explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why he wanted to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.” Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it. And the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.” — President John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy’s speech about space exploration and placing a man on the moon was just a glimpse of the era of exploration, technological advancements, and innovators to disrupt space for generations to come. Today, we see the impacts of 10x-ing technology, innovation, and solving problems that we could have imagined. Some of these problems range from reusable rocket boosters to more funding/support for space exploration. In fact, we are returning to the moon in 2024 with NASA’s ARTEMIS Program. Not to mention Elon Musk’s ambitious plans to put humans on Mars by 2022. Go Elon!
Anything is possible.
…12, 11, 10, 9, . . .
However, that doesn’t mean that we can just put people into rockets, launch them into space, and hope for the best. In fact, we probably might not need rockets. What we need is to develop better strategies that best fit the times, rather than just copy what our previous generations have done. What we should develop are better technologies to develop and invest in 100x Space Exploration and Technologies!
Ignition Sequence Start.
Rockets commonly use one of two types of fuel: Solid or Liquid Fuel.
- If the fuel is solid, you will need to add heat for the process of combustion to begin. For liquid fuel, you will combine the fuel with an oxidizer via pumps.
- At this point, both solid or liquid fuel will arrive at the combustion chamber, where the chemical reactions occur for the fuel to be ejected from the rocket nozzles.
- Once combustion is complete, the propellant will leave via the rocket nozzles, which propels the rocket up!
It allows for rockets to escape Earth, but there are downsides to using this type of propulsion.
- A single SpaceX Launch releases 336,552 Kilograms of CO2
- The fuel will need more pumps and an oxidant, which adds more mass to the rocket, and increases the cost of the rocket, let alone the payload system.
- Certain rockets dispose of rocket pieces through the atmosphere or they stay up in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). SpaceX has successfully reused its rocket boosters, but we need to do more.
- Liquid and solid fuel rockets use up their fuel so fast; immediately after liftoff. It’s good when you’re trying to get to geostationary orbit, but if you’re trying to get to Mars, good luck.
Currently, we have moonshot ideas! We have built ion thrusters, which use electrical collisions to generate ions as propulsion rather than liquid or solid fuel with an oxidizer. There is no harm of CO2 emissions going up, and best of all, they have enough propulsion to get us to Mars! If you want to know more about ion thrusters, check out these bad boys here!
Secondly, there are solar sails! Using the sun’s radiation as a source of fuel and propulsion and absorbing via large mirrors that constantly power your ship to your destination in a jiffy! Learn more about them here!
. . . 6, 5, 4, . . .
Now that we have better propulsion to get us around the universe, we are not out of the clear yet. We still need to be concerned about what outer space will do to our bodies. Whether we are living in Geo-Stationary Orbit, living on The Moon, Mars, or anywhere else in the Solar System, there are hindrances to why living in space and other planets is currently inhabitable:
- Microgravity: Bone and muscle atrophy can quickly take place due to the weightlessness in space.
- No Breathable Air: Without air, the lungs will not respond and blood will not reach your brain. If you do not inhale oxygen after approximately 2 minutes, you will die of asphyxiation.
- Cosmic Radiation: On Earth, you receive approximately 1 millisievert of Radiation. In space, you receive 50–2,000 millisieverts of radiation, and all that depends on how long you stay in space. On Mars, there is an incredibly weak magnetosphere, so unless you want to be showered by thousands of millisieverts in radiation, be my guest.
- Food and Water: You can’t grow food on The Moon or Mars due to insufficient amounts of nitrogen. In terms of water, I hoped you packed up quintillions of gallons of Sparkling Water on your Next Trip to Mars!
- Gravity: Surface Gravity on The Moon and Mars is less than Earth’s, and that will lead to muscle atrophy and cardiovascular problems.
- Power Outage: In space or on any celestial object, the only power source we can extract is the photons coming from the Sun. On Mars, however, dust storms can block out the sunlight and makes it harder to have sufficient power.
- One Giant Freezer: Step outside the spacecraft without a spacesuit, and you will almost immediately freeze to death. Since there is no heat source hot enough to keep outer space at a warm temperature, the temperature outside of the spacecraft is only a few degrees above Absolute Zero! Absolute Zero is when all atoms come to a complete stop! They do not vibrate or move! Now imagine yourself!
. . . 3, 2, 1, 0, . . .
While eradicating these problems could take decades to solve, it shouldn’t stop anyone from thinking of unconventional ideas to leverage unconventional success for an unconventional future.
- Tardigrades: These are small little critters that contain an answer to the radiation from outer space. Tardigrades have a special protein called Dsup, or Damage Suppressor Protein.
- Asteroid Mining (Part 1): Commercial space flight will be expensive. To earn some profit, let’s turn to asteroids and mine their materials and minerals! If we were to extract materials from asteroids, they would potentially be one of these three valuables: rare metals/minerals, Helium-3, and Water. Secondly, an asteroid named Psyche, which is roughly the size of Massachusetts, is worth $10,000 QUADRILLION! Talk about profit!
- Asteroid Mining (Part 2): With the Materials, Water, and Helium-3 extracted, we have two options: we can either return to Earth or use the materials for making settlements on The Moon or Mars! Secondly, that solves the Water crisis for living on a planet that does not have Water on its surface.
. . . And Lift-off! We have a Lift-Off!
While that sounds like a promising future for mankind, we forgot about the people. With the colonization of Space, ethics will arise to question our decisions.
- What if the rocket explodes? Who should be sued and how much?
- Should we protect environments and planets that could host life?
- Would we send robots instead of humans to explore space?
- What should we do if we come into contact with alien life?
- How will the government be managed between an interplanetary species?
- Who will be responsible for cleaning up the space junk?
- If everything I said is successful, who will earn the profit and how will the wealth be distributed?
- Will Elon Musk and SpaceX take over Mars?
While it may not be at the top of the agenda, since we can’t even get to Mars, let alone survive in space for an extended period of time, we cannot ignore this issue altogether. Once we reach the title of “Interplanetary Species”, it would be in our best interests to develop the strategies that best fit the civilization we live in the future.
However, we will never reach this feat if we pursue division and fear among ourselves. We must work together and collaborate to leverage disruption and not destruction. Space Exploration is tough to solve when there is only one person or company striving to do so, but as one, we will be expanding our horizons to places we could only imagine about.
- Space Exploration began with a Moonshot.
- Space Technologies can be improved.
- Unfortunately, we have to pay attention to existing and future problems.
- Some problems are better propulsion systems, more abundant resources, and human health.
- There are already solutions to these problems!
- Some of these solutions involve animals, asteroids, and obviously, better technologies!
- Future problems include ethical issues such as space junk, alien life, and possibly dictatorship.
- We can solve these problems… If we work together!
. . . Tower Clear!
Space Exploration is The Final Boss. There is so much we have to learn before we finally face our match, but we’re humans! We have always been curious, and we have always persisted until the goal is met and we have found our answers!
“Stay curious, stay foolish.” — Steve Jobs
With all that writing, I’m now hungry. But anyway, with that, there are only two words left to say:
Sorry, I mean…
Ah, I see you have made it to the end! Hello, everyone! 👋 My name is Carlos Manuel. I am a 16-year-old who is passionate about space tech, quantum computing, philosophy, and politics. If you are interested in this article, emerging tech, politics, or just wanting to jam out about perspectives and values, message me through LinkedIn, Instagram, Medium, Twitter, and firstname.lastname@example.org! 😊 See you soon!