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With new Blade Runner and Star Wars films coming out later this year, we’ve got space on our minds! We all know about the pioneering Apollo moon landing in 1969, an historic moment, but what about the space travel of tomorrow? Today, a new race is on to land on mars and explore beyond our solar system. Humans have developed more advanced technologies and innovations are being made on a daily basis. Here are some great ideas and sci-fi designs currently in development that could completely redefine mankind’s adventures in outer space.
Thoth technology space elevator
Travelling to space could be much easier and far more cost-effective, if Thoth Technology’s plans to build a space elevator become a reality. In 2015, the company secured a patent for an elevator which when constructed, would reach 20km above the Earth’s surface. It would support a platform for launching and landing space crafts. The elevator would be 30 percent cheaper than the fuel needed to power a traditional rocket. It’s also a reusable system, so this elevator could completely change the way humans get to space, making the travel easier and more affordable.
It’s not just Mars that space companies are eager to colonise. NASA has come up with a plan for a manned mission to Venus by placing a series of airships in the planet’s atmosphere. The project is called High Altitude Venus Operation Concept (HAVOC), which is envisioned as a plan to build cloud cities on Venus. The planet’s surface is far too hot for humans to live on, but the conditions of the skies of Venus are far more similar to that of Earth’s atmosphere. The concept of HAVOC features five phases, the first involves using an unmanned airship in the Venusian atmosphere. Phase two consists of two astronauts spending 30 days in orbit around Venus, and phases three and four involves crewmembers exploring the skies of Venus. Finally, phase five would be the settlement over Venus. Although getting to the Red Planet remains top priority, Venus has huge potential for space exploration and creating cloud cities would be a remarkable achievement for space travel.
Next generation of spacesuits
Since humans first started exploring space in the 1960s, spacesuits have remained relatively unchanged. But now NASA is working on the next generation of space suits that will use new innovative technologies. The Z-2 suits are being developed for deep space exploration, making them more agile and they will feature water evaporation and carbon dioxide removable systems, allowing breathing to be more efficient. In terms of their appearance, they will be less bulky and designed for maximum mobility. So advanced space suit technology could redefine how astronauts work and exist on other planets.
NASA plan to land on Mars by the 2030’s but it’s going to take some serious work to get there. Investments are being made into suspended animation, or alternatively known as ‘human hibernation’. It was initially envisioned as a solution for long-duration interstellar space travel to Mars, but recently there are plans for putting astronauts in deep sleep states, because it’s going to take a massive nine months to get there. The project is called “Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitat For Human Stasis To Mars”. It would lower Mars explorers' core body temperature and they would be continuously fed throughout the journey. With suspended animation, it would save a lot of cargo weight and could go on to ultimately redefine the way that humans travel to and back from planets.
These innovative plans offer not only an exciting future for space travel, but also for the built environment. There could be a renewed focus on the practice and theory of building environments in outer space, as well as engineering methods regarding building spacecraft. Space architecture could someday be a widespread discipline. These plans would revolutionise space exploration and we could see a future where architects build 3D printed homes on Mars and on other planets. As technology keeps growing, there could be a whole host of fascinating possibilities beyond the horizon.
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