How will we reach space in 100 years?

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willpittenger

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<span method="POST" action="/dopoll.php"></span><br /><br />A second poll is similar, but for 300 years into the future. See the first reply for that. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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lampblack

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Within 100 years, folks will be shuttling up and down on space elevators and taking jaunts on spacecraft utilizing very small fusion engines.<br /><br />Within 300 years, folks will be using site-to-site teleportation -- and visiting nearby star systems on spacecraft utilizing matter-antimatter reactions. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#0000ff"><strong>Just tell the truth and let the chips fall...</strong></font> </div>
 
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l3p3r

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For the first poll: Space Elevators!! <br /><br />For the second: Reactionless drives! (and space elevators!)<br /><br />=) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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no_way

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I would guess beanstalk-style elevators as well for the first, or some rotovator solution. Elevators will be slow to get there though, so maybe there will be some other faster option like small airbreathing hypersonic platforms for smaller payloads.<br /><br />Second, i would hope for some type of fusion too ( antimatter would not make sense, as its way overpowered for earth-to orbit leg, plus its not an energy source itself as it first has to be made using plenty of energy )
 
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kelvinzero

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Hi, Im going to suggest the very conservative idea (perhaps you would have included this under STS) of two-stage-to orbit (stacked vertically) with entirely reusable components that require very little refurbishment. The technology has been availiable to the general public for about 50-80 years at this point. Very mature and routine. A trip to orbit is about as casual (and with about the same risk) as catching a connecting flight today.<br /><br />The propellent is hydrogen/oxygen generated from space solar power as is most electricity at this point, so it is environmentally friendly.<br /><br />I also like the idea of beamed power propulsion (probably thermal) using SSP and the rather extravagant 'orbital loop', but I dont see any particular problem with big, clean, reliable, cheap, reusable rockets. <br /><br />btw I vote moving this to Space Business and Technology.
 
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no_way

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I would put your TSTO RLV maybe into 15-20 years of future, at least hydrocarbon-propellant based one, thats why i hope we have moved to better approaches 100 years from now.<br />However, no rocket-based launch is really ever environmentally friendly, as water vapor too is a greenhouse gas, especially troublesome in upper atmosphere layers. By the time when space access becomes routine enough, this may become a significant environmental concern.<br /><br />But then, we dont really know the potential environmental impacts of space elevators either ...
 
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kelvinzero

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I think a TSTO RLV (thanks for the acronyms <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> ) could be developed very quickly as you say. We could probably start designing it right now and have it running in a decade if we wanted.<br /><br />Apparently to be cheap we need a lot of flights, and developing the need is what is going to slow us. But then, yeah, my point was that at the hundred year mark it would be <i>old</i> technology that has gone through a bunch of iterations, and is as mundane as international flight.<br /><br />Re the polution of H20 you might be right. Im hoping it would be no worry if we have replaced oil with SSP by then, but weather science is all scary voodoo to me.<br /><br />For more elaborate options there is the beamed power option and the orbital loop option which I much prefer to the space elevator because it would not fail as catastrophically and does not require high strength materials. All it needs is scale. The scale could come from luna materials and mass drivers to deliver it. Likewise beamed power propulsion will probably only come after SSP is common. It isnt so much that these technologies are hard as that they will probably only emerge in order as need leads to development that leads to further possibilites that make them practical.
 
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mithridates

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My guess for 100 years later would be the orbital airship method JP Aerospace is trying to develop. For 300 years later, no idea. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>----- </p><p>http://mithridates.blogspot.com</p> </div>
 
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spacefire

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there would have never been a computer in every phone using vacuum tubes.<br /><br />there will not be a space expansion using rockets.<br /><br />thus, I picked 'other' for both polls. I'm not a physicist but I am sure there will be a breakthrough in the next hundred years that will allow space travel in ways we cannot even imagine. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>http://asteroid-invasion.blogspot.com</p><p>http://www.solvengineer.com/asteroid-invasion.html </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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crix

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I'm not confident that biological humans will really explore the solar system... and much less the galaxy.<br /><br />I think in 100 years our consciousnesses might be run on a different substrate, simulated in silico. So we'd travel to space by UHF to hardware that can more easily transport our non biological selves.<br /><br />It's a pretty far out idea, I know. But we're supposed to experience 10,000 years of year2000 change equivalent by the end of the century if the Law of Accelerating Returns is considered.
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>there will not be a space expansion using rockets.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Well, we even have not started using rockets yet for proper, and there definitely were lots and lots of teevees and radios at homes using vacuum tubes. Which was part of the huge market pull for better electronics, and why transistors and followon ICs were commercialized and developed at very fast speed.
 
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j05h

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<i>> I'm not confident that biological humans will really explore the solar system... and much less the galaxy. </i><br /><br />Humanity is quickly outgrowing Earth. If we don't move Life and production into space, Earth will be in further trouble. This requires humans and other biota to proliferate in space, not just explore it. Exploration should lead to settlement and industrialisation.<br /><br />Digital "consciousness" is going to have trouble in space with background radiation. Perhaps more so than biological brains.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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I would expect the energy needed for the Space Elevator to come from power plants. So a coal or fission power plant would not be as nice as a good fusion plant. Perhaps by the time we can build a space elevator, fusion will be a practical option. Note: for heavy loads, a dedicated power plant might be required. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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Oops. I meant to include Space Elevator in the option lists for both polls but forgot. Sorry about that. If that is what you thought would be our main means of space access in either time frame, please vote for Other and then reply to this post so we can count those votes. Thanks. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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crix

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I'm not sure that space elevator access will be affordable enough so that we can actually reduce the Earth's population by sending people elsewhere.<br /><br />Expanding into the solar system is something I'd like to see but I don't view it as lessening the burden on Earth, it just means that we can have more people overall.<br /><br />A consciousness encoded on a next^n gen chip that consumes a certain small wattage as its sole life support, occupies a cubic foot, and weighs 20lbs will be a lot easier to get around the universe than a us meat-lings. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> Computers nor biology are impervious to the stray cosmic ray... we will need error correction systems.<br />
 
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j05h

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<i>> I'm not sure that space elevator access will be affordable enough so that we can actually reduce the Earth's population by sending people elsewhere. </i><br /><br />A few 10,000s of people around the Inner Solar System with appropriate robots could equal whole nations in economic power. Population isn't the issue, it's how resources are used and abused. The environmental tech of building cities in space will greatly effect how Earth cities are sustained.<br /><br /><i>> Expanding into the solar system is something I'd like to see but I don't view it as lessening the burden on Earth, it just means that we can have more people overall. </i><br /><br />I don't see it lessening the population burden, instead it creates access to more resources, lessening the burden of extractive economics on Earth. This is both in terms of investment in space businesses/facilities and products from space. Mostly I see this as data return (both space sciences/genomic/CADCAM) and beamed-power. Most of the material resources will be used off-Earth, but there are huge investment potentials. <br /><br />I can see advanced AI/Expert Systems in exploration but am still unsure if the human mind can be digitized.<br /><br />josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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no_way

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There are couple other things that would benefit earth: getting rid of difficult hazardous waste is one of them.<br /><br />Directly, by lifting the current waste dumps up and sending them into sun for example.<br />Indirectly, moving the worst polluting industry stuff that we cant do without out and into safe orbits.<br /><br />Various kinds of hazardous tech development experiments that are really cumbersome to do on earth, and require insane security investments down here, could become viable with cheap enough access to near-earth space as well.<br />
 
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josh_simonson

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It's folly to even speculate. In 100 years we'll have diamond combustion chambers, nanotube re-enforced composites and cables, artificial intelligence and ultra-high energy lasers. It could go many ways.
 
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h2ouniverse

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My speculations:<br /><br />100 years: Something with new physics. Prefered option: something that gets force from space-time substrate, Higgs field or whatever you call it. Current space travel is like crossing a lake on a boat by loading tons of stones and throwing them away to get a reaction. Time to learn how to use rows!!!<br />300 years: we will be both on ground and in space, spread networked consciousness; to "go to space" will equate a communication signal.<br />Regards.
 
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willpittenger

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Indirectly, moving the worst polluting industry stuff that we cant do without out and into safe orbits.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />To me, there is only one type of "safe" orbit: One that intersects with the Sun ASAP. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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silylene old

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My guess is...expendable rockets. Yep, that's it. :/ <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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no_way

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nothing wrong with em, as long as they are cheap enough, reliable enough and dont impact environment in a significant way.
 
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