Observing the Cosmos: What Developments Will the Upcoming 60 Years Bring to Space Exploration?

The article discusses the possible advancements in space exploration and technology in the next 60 years. It begins by highlighting past predictions about space travel that have both overestimated and underestimated technological progress. It then moves on to outline several ‘absolutely fantastic’ potential developments in the future of NASA.

Firstly, the article discusses the prospect of space tourism. Currently, three companies, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin, are all developing plans to put tourists in space. In the future, the process of boarding a spacecraft could be as easy as boarding an aeroplane is today.

The moon could serve as a primary destination for space tourists given the recent signing of Space Policy Directive-1 by President Trump. The directive establishes the return to the moon, manned missions to Mars, and further exploration of outer space as official US policy. By 2078, a base on the moon could serve as a way station for further space exploration.

The International Space Station (ISS) is another area of focus. The article predicts that the ISS will likely be replaced by a more modern station within the next 10-15 years. NASA plans to launch the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway in 2022. This station is intended to explore the moon and its resources, and assist in the first human missions to Mars.

Another significant development could be the colonization of Mars. The red planet is well within reach of human spaceflight and can be reached in nine months with current propulsion technology. Mars could also hold significant potential as a source of mineral wealth and even water for fuel.

The article also discusses the potential for mining asteroids, which could contain vast stores of valuable minerals. The economic activity generated by space mining could lead to political conflict, making space law an important area of future development.

Lastly, the article discusses interplanetary space travel and the possibility of alien life. Current technological limitations make interplanetary travel difficult, and the possibility of cryogenic sleep for extended space flights is seen as unlikely in the next 60 years. However, the existence of intelligent alien life is considered a possibility given the almost infinite number of planets in the universe.

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