After promising the world that India would become a space power by 2015, it looks as if the world’s largest democracy is now scheduling its first human encounter with the stars by 2017.
India has aspirations to establish a lunar colony in the future as well, and has even proposed teaming up with Japan as well as Russia to help achieve their space goals.
Hopefully the land of a billion people will be able to to meet its timeline within seven years, as any further delay could result in India ceding dominance to China (who currently reigns as the space king in the east).
Unless you are fortunate enough to live on a water abundant world (like Earth, the red planet, and yes, even the Moon), future space travelers are going to have to recycle every drop of water that exits their body (regardless of origin).
Since bacteria have a tendency to thrive in micro gravity, astronauts will need to find a way to kill off these microscopic creatures before they kill us off via recycled sweat and other bodily fluids (especially since our immune system becomes weaker in zero-G).
Fortunately for us a company may have a quick solution that is not only effective but inexpensive as well.
(Homedics, note: PDF file) UVC [ultraviolet C] light, with wavelengths between 100 and 280 nm, is commonly referred to as “germicidal light” due to its effectiveness in destroying microorganisms. UVC light acts as a natural outdoor air purification system by deactivating the DNA of microorganisms and destroying their ability to multiply. […]
Utilizing the germ-killing benefits of UVC light, HoMedics, the leader in health and wellness products, developed Restore®, a complete water purification system in an easy to use pitcher. Restore combines UV Clean technology to remove bacteria, viruses and microbial cysts with a filtration system to reduce heavy metals, chlorine (taste and odor), and some industrial and agricultural pollutants.
Although this technology could also be used for off world settlers (who may have to drink recycled water until they can melt enough space ice), this technology would also benefit residents of orbital space stations around Earth, Venus or even a gas giant.
It could also help reduce the overall cost of filtering space water, allowing corporations and governments alike to invest money into other area’s (like propulsion or food).
Despite the advances of chemical rockets, taking a 6 month journey to that crimson world would not only be unreasonable (as you would have to pack a lot of food and water for the journey) but dangerous as well due to space radiation.
In order to shorten the time span between the blue and red worlds, we may have to resort to Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket’s (aka VASIMR).
(Space.com) Future Mars outposts or colonies may seem more distant than ever with NASA’s exploration plans in flux, but the rocket technology that could someday propel a human mission to the red planet in as little as 40 days may already exist.
A company founded by former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz has been developing a new rocket engine that draws upon electric power and magnetic fields to channel superheated plasma out the back. That stream of plasma generates steady, efficient thrust that uses low amounts of propellant and builds up speed over time. […]
A mission trajectory study estimated that a VASIMR-powered spacecraft could reach the red planet within 40 days if it had a 200 megawatt power source. That’s 1,000 times more power than what the current VASIMR prototype will use, although Ad Astra says that VASIMR can scale up to higher power sources.
Although VASIMR could help shorten the trip towards Mars, future astronauts would probably still need a magnetic shield to protect them from the ravages of space radiation.
While this news should cheer Martian fans, it is doubtful that Obama or Nelson will be able to convince the public that a Mars mission is possible (especially during a recession).
Hopefully Nelson or Obama can provide more details as to how we will go about funding a Mars mission (outside of sending more robots that is), otherwise we can safely rule out ever seeing a man or woman creating crimson foot prints off world–at least not from America.
Now that China is an official space power, some may wonder how the citizens of this great nation view their countries attempt to land a man (or a woman) on the moon.
Here is a brief video highlighting not only China’s accomplishments, but also views from its citizens (both young and old).
Only time will tell whether China lands a man (or woman) upon the Moon, but hopefully they will not repeat America’s mistake and consider inhabiting upon Earth’s little sister instead of merely visiting her.
Russia, a nation nation known for putting the first satellite, man, woman, dog, etc. into space (not to mention being the first to pioneer space tourism with Space Adventures) may embrace nuclear rockets to help them reach the stars (and perhaps even Mars as well).
While a nuclear rocket from a practical stand point makes sense (as they can lift heavier objects to orbit compared to their chemical cousins), it would probably also isolate Russia (since anything nuclear is often frowned upon–at least in the west).
It may also help Russia catch up to America (or rather the private sector) as well as maintain their lead against China, whose presence is motivating everyone to claim a piece of Luna for their own.