Private space mission to the International Space Station.
Posted: April 29, 2012. At: 4:14 PM
There is a mission planned to the International Space Station. This mission is planning to carry goods to the space station as the first private enterprise space mission to perform this duty. With the retirement of the space shuttle, private enterprise is one way that the future of space travel will be maintained. The idealistic vision of space travel depicted in the Star Trek series is a long way way yet, we have discovered a star that is practically identical to our own, but it is 200 light-years away. Even our earliest radio transmissions are nowhere near this distance at the speed of light. The Voyager probe traveling at 33,000 miles an hour would take an astronomical amount of time to reach the star. Traveling to another inhabited planet like the one in Avatar is a pipe dream, but the Moon and Mars are close by relatively speaking. Reaching the Moon would be easy for a private spaceship, with modern technology.
The Chinese might manage this, or even a Google or Facebook entrepreneur that has amassed a few Billion Kongbucks and wants to travel to somewhere in space before they die. That would open the floodgates for more manned missions to the Moon and possibly Mars eventually, but that will take much longer to get to than the Moon and the level of radiation has to be considered as well. Having a water wall or some other method of radiation shielding will be necessary if the crew is to survive. Traveling to the distant stars has always been a dream that man has created many movies about, but the practicality of this trip actually eventuating in our lifetime is another matter. It is impossible to go beyond the speed of light and this restricts the places we can get to within one human lifetime. Possibly we would need to put the consciousness of a space pilot into a machine body that would not require food or water and would never get tired. This would be a great way to get around space with sub-light speeds. If the pilot was an immortal being composed of circuits instead of biological cells and organs, then a long trip to Pluto or Alpha Centauri would actually be tolerable for the crew.
That is one practical although far fetched way of reaching the stars. Another method for long term space travel is to freeze the crew for the long journey, but this is not possible yet, the reality is that cell damage caused by the freezing process is too severe and humans can not be brought back from freezing yet. There are companies that are offering cryogenic freezing of humans that supposedly will be brought back to life in the future. They are dead though, and we will not have the technology to bring the dead back to life for a long time yet. Traveling to somewhere much closer such as the Moon makes more sense than planning a trip to a star 200 light-years away that would take an absurd time to travel to. Using a powerful space drive traveling at a very high speed would expose the crew to an incredible amount of radiation that would kill them.