Space 2108 - a brief glimpse at the next 100 years in space

April 02 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 7

By Dick Pelletier

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the three-hour Las Vegas-Mars Hyperspace Express. In a few moments we will leave Earth atmosphere and experience a quantum leap as we achieve greater than light-speed travel. Be sure to glance out your window during our hyper-speed mode and watch the stars flash by at dizzying speeds; truly one of the most breathtaking views in the galaxy. Expected arrival at Branson-Bigelow Spaceport is noon Martian time; we hope you enjoy your trip.”

The above scenario is fiction of course, but German scientist Burkhard Heim who developed this radical theory believes that hyperspace propulsion systems will become a proven concept within five years; and could be fully operational by the end of this century.

Heim’s theory adds two components to Einstein’s four-dimensional space-time; a repulsive anti-gravity force similar to dark energy that appears to expand the universe, and a bold idea that accelerates a spacecraft without using any fuel.

If Heim’s idea proves correct, it will radically change space travel. Forget spending six months holed up in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyper-drive could take as little as five hours. And for longer trips, adventurers could visit Alpha Centauri, 4 light years away, in as little as 30 days. Hyperspace propulsion could bring travel to the stars within reach for the first time.

(cont.)

However, with hyper-drives estimated to be a hundred years or more into the future, NASA Chief Michael Griffin, in a recent Aviation Week blog, focused on a more realistic program for the next 50 years. “In 2020,” Griffin says, “the first manned-moon mission in two generations will blast off to create an outpost that, by 2024, could host permanent residents.”

With this moon outpost, experts hope to learn how to live off the land, and get a better understanding of the challenges astronauts may face on the manned mega-million-mile roundtrip to Mars, another NASA mission scheduled for 2030.

Griffin cautions that expenses of $85 billion for the moon project and $125 billion for Mars must first gain congressional approval, and he wonders if there will be enough public support. Boy, we could sure use the hundreds of billions spent on the Iraq fiasco, but I guess there’s no use crying over spilled milk.

However, entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Robert Bigelow with their bold dreams of carrying private citizens into space for vacations and jobs in the coming decades, could spark a multi-billion dollar space tourism industry and launch what many predict will be the most lucrative commerce effort in history – asteroid mining – with revenues expected in the trillions by mid-century.

Other ideas predicted for the latter half of the 21st century by visionaries Freeman Dyson, Michio Kaku, and the late Carl Sagan include establishing colonies on Jupiter moons, Io and Europa, and building artificial habitats orbiting Earth. Scientists would utilize molecular nanotech to terraform these new worlds, and apply genetic engineering to strengthen the bodies of our space pioneers enabling them to live a comfortable life in their new homes.

Positive futurists believe that despite concerns over public support, this “magical future” will become reality. By 2108, humanity could be fully occupied with spreading its populations to the stars; and sometime during the next century, more humans could reside in space than on Earth.

Can you picture yourself actually making a trip to colonies on Mars or Jupiter's moons someday?

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Comment Thread (5 Responses)

  1. Heim’s theory will be obsolete by then, because right now I’m working on my own radical theory. I’m also adding new component to space time called magic. Not only magic will accelerates a spacecraft without using any fuel, but it will pretty much allow us to do anything current science does not. /s

    Posted by: johnfrink   April 02, 2008
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  2. Johnfrink,

    Remember, Heim believes that his theory will become a proven concept within five years, even though it may not be operational until the end of the century.

    If in five years, scientists accept Heim’s theory as one that could be practical, this gives us about 85 years to consider all kinds of improvements or develop other ideas for FTL travel.

    Could you elaborate on the “magic” component you mentioned in your post? What does it do?

    Posted by: futuretalk   April 02, 2008
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  3. futuretalk,

    My point was that it is a little bit too early to get excited about all the fantastic things that Heim’s theory will allow us to do before we have some shred of evidence that this theory has anything to do with actual reality we live in. Heim’s theory may not be a crackpot science, but it is definitely a fringe theory. It was around for a while and one would expect it to turn out more useful by now than it is.

    Posted by: johnfrink   April 02, 2008
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  4. Granted, Heim’s theory is not accepted by most mainstream scientists today. Will it become a proven possibility in five years? I hope so, but it’s possible that it may never be realized. However, there are other ways to travel faster than light. Researchers at the Cern Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland are expected to create baby wormholes in the next couple of years, and display evidence that in the future, they can be managed, enlarged, and controlled.

    Some think that this work may one day enable us to send information instantly to vast distances in space, or even back and forward through time. Most doubt that we will ever send matter, but ability to route data through these freaks of nature may be all that is needed for FTL travel.

    I envision a future when the “consciousness” of space travelers could be instantly forwarded to remote locations. On arrival, it would not be a stretch to imagine tomorrow’s nanobots creating genetically-modified “housing units” for these bold explorers to hop into as they go about accomplishing their tasks.

    This may sound more like fiction than science, but with the “information revolution” expected to get underway between 2035 and 2050, who can guess how the future will unfold?

    Comments welcome.

    Posted by: futuretalk   April 02, 2008
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  5. I hope Hyperdrives will be a reality in 100 years or even less. Maybe sometime in the 2080’s or 2090’s Hyperspace like in Star Wars will be a reality and people in starships will be able to visit the planets of our solar system and other solar systems and even distant galaxies as easily as a flight to Newfoundland or Australia or a subway ride across Toronto.

    Posted by: ronbond007   February 04, 2009
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