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Space Exploration: We Must Explore The Final Frontier

1191 words - 5 pages

What if Star Trek was no longer a piece of fiction and it was possible for mankind to colonize other worlds? Exploring the cosmos would be able to answer many questions about the unknown. Humans may already be within reach of this extraordinary feat. Some requirements for space travel are: a dependable source of energy, capability to cover large distances in a relatively short time, and ability to communicate with Earth from considerable distances ("10 Technology Innovations"). If life forms are involved, the craft must be able support life. Though most of the technology required for such a feat has already been created, or at least in parts, certain obstacles still remain which can still be overcome.
One of the important characteristics of the early ships sent out to explore other planets must be that they are intelligent. Just as it is for a cell, survival is vital. Building upon the artificial-intelligence in the Mars rover, Curiosity and the ISS, the space craft can be programmed to be able to interact, learn from its surroundings, and respond appropriately to changes in its vicinity. It is also important for the ship to be capable of building new machines when required. By combining the technologies involved in a 3D printer and robots used to manufacture electronics, the space craft can be made to install new components such as additional solar panels or to replace damaged sensors (Peixe). This will also reduce the space required for bulky equipment, as they can be printed on the spot. Using the same technology, a space craft can build seed-like bots to be sent to land on other worlds to explore, mine for resources, or start an outpost. Von Neumann probes, machines capable of self replicating, are closer to reality than ever (Edwards). This allows the ship to have a greater chance of finding other worlds and giving way for human colonization. The machinery inside the spacecraft will indeed be complex. But its high complexity does not necessarily equate to a larger size. Thin, flexible, and durable circuits can now be printed and durable, lightweight alloys are being developed using nanotechnology ("New Super Strong Alloy").With less mass, less energy will be required to move such a vehicle, ultimately reducing cost of a long deep space voyage.
Humans must still engineer a craft capable of traveling to other star-systems within one's lifetime. To propel a spacecraft at a high velocity in an efficient manner, the engine should either provide an immense of thrust with little fuel expended or be able to bend space-time. As impossible as they may seem, both technologies are currently being developed by NASA. A Fusion Driven Rockets, which create magnetism-initiated fusion reactions that eject particles at 30 kilometers per second, could be used to propel the craft (Thomson). With little energy required to compress aluminum or lithium metal bands around deuterium-tritium fuel pellets and cause reactions, the engines could be powered by...

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