Monday, May 9, 2011

Future of Human Exploration

The story of humanity has always been one of exploration, colonization and adapting to meet any environmental obstacles that stand in their way. Ever since we evolved we have felt a need to leave our cradle in Africa and explore the continent. Eventually crossed into the Middle East eventually going into Europe and Asia having to adapt to the extreme colds of the north during the Ice Age having to make clothes and master the art of fire. Some humans even made their way into the Americas populating the entire length of both north and south continents. As technology developed and ocean going ship designs became more sophisticated Europeans began a new wave of exploration, reaching India by sea by going around Africa and Christopher's famous voyage lead to the western colonization of the America's and soon they circumnavigate the world. Even the frozen wastes of the poles and the depths of the oceans were explored even if they were not colonized.

Once the west colonized many parts of the world and global trade began to connect the entire planet a new wave  of exploration began as a competition between the two major powers of the globe. After a few years the USSR sent Sputnik into orbit and made Yuri Gagarin the first man into space the USA became the first nation to put men onto another heavenly body besides Earth. In no time at all humanity took advantage of the technology to reach space by setting up numerous satellites furthering connecting our world.

Unfortunately it seems we have stopped there. Although many probes have landed on Mars and passed by Pluto and our telescopes peer farther and farther into the Universe and its past it seems that we don't have any plans to go farther. If humanity wished to grow and develop we need to continue to explore and colonize the Universe. And now that we have weapons that have the power to destroy all life on Earth and other galactic catastrophes that are even more destructive leaving the earth permanently becomes a matter of survival for our species and our greatly coveted civilization.

One piece of technology that will greatly help us get into space is the space elevator. These will be stations that are in geosynchronous orbit around the planet so that it will naturally stay over the same spot on the Earth.  They would be connected onto the Earth through extremely long cables. Elevators would be able to travel up and down these cables, powered by lasers shot from the base on the ground it would not need to carry it's own fuel with it as it leaves the Earth's gravitational pull. With traditional rockets fuel makes up a huge fraction of the weight as vast amount of fuel needed to lift a pound into orbit which needs more fuel to lift the weight of the fuel and more fuel to lift that fuel, et cetera. This will make it immensely cheaper to launch people into orbital altitudes. Space elevators can also be used to quickly and cheaply bring up pieces of space ships which could be assembled in space. These ships can be optimized for space travel since they won't have to deal with the stresses of leaving and entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Once space elevators become well established on Earth at least going onto the moon and other planets will become much easier and if we establish permanent colonies onto those bodies space elevators could be built there as well and and interplanetary trade can be established and humanity will continue it's legacy of exploration and expansion.

And now I'm tired so I guess I'll put what I have up now so I can update some what regularly and I shall continue this blog later on another day. Well as always feel free to ask any questions who may want me to expand upon in this blog or request a new topic for me talk about entirely!!!

Some pictures of what space elevators might look like (via Google images):
Space elevator itself

The base of the elevator on the surface of the Earth

Cool looking angle seen from space

(Oh, I hope if I make it big I get sued for taking peeps images off of Google without giving credit.
It's called the internet! All the cool kids pirate stuff!)

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