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ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO -- An initial step towards the creation of mass transit beyond our planet is the emerging public space travel market.
At present, a number of technologies are being developed for other applications by non-aerospace industries deemed useful in fostering space colonization. These technologies will automate many aspects of large scale space system development, as well as drive down costs – thereby advancing the onset of colonization.
That’s the view among a group of visionary practitioners of the future taking part in the Space Technology & Applications International Forum (STAIF), held here February 13-17.
"There are so many technologies coming on," McCullough told SPACE.com. "The commercial drivers of these technologies are so massive, and the money is so large, that they they’re going to come right out of the blue," he said.
There are many more advancements that are already in the pipeline, McCullough said. "Some of the technologies that are out there are going to allow us to do some things that people are going to find incredible."
A few favorites on the Boeing scientist’s list are:
- Large scale, micro scale and high-speed fabrication with metal, ceramics, plastics and electro active polymers;
- Autonomous robotics capable of interacting with complex objects and capable of piecing together modules and performing complicated repair duties unattended;
- Smart programmable shape materials and intelligent materials, along with microscopic fluidic computers;
- Space suits amplified with artificial muscles and polymer electronics;
- Artificial organs for life support, chemical processing and water treatment;
- Genetic engineering of Mars adapted plants and intelligence-boosted domestic animals, including e-coli delivered pharmaceuticals and other very advanced health care remedies.
Why put Mars in the colonization crosshairs?
"Mars is a planet that has many unusual and spectacular features that will draw people to it," McCullough told the STAIF gathering. "Being a planet rather than a moon, it has undergone many of the geological processes which have caused the formation of minerals on Earth," he said.
That being the case, Mars is a user-friendly world, rife with many industrially useful minerals for construction and manufacturing purposes. It has a suite of "ates", "ites" and "ides" of common metals with common non metals, McCullough pointed out. The red planet is also wrapped in abundant carbon dioxide which will be fairly easy to condense, he said.
Water availability on Mars is another huge plus.
There is abundant evidence of past water activity on Mars. It should be present in permafrost at higher latitudes on the planet. It may also be present in hydrated minerals, McCullough stated.
"The availability of water on Mars in significant quantities would once again simplify our projected industrial activities. This makes extensive bases leading to colonies more likely," McCullough concluded.
Originally posted by neonine
you might be interested in the 2004 united states space breifing by bush you can get it at the nasa web page if you havent seen it already you should check it out. if its true we should be seeing major space colinization in the next 10 to 15 year or maby even sooner.
Originally posted by Terapin
Personaly I wish we had remained in Space after the Apollo missions and not gone back to simply driving a pick up truck out there to manage satelites ( shuttle) Mars is ripe for terraforming but it isnt going to happen in the next 10 years to any significant degree. It is a HUGE undertaking and currently we are just beginning to check out the neighborhood. We dont even have the capability (yet) to get a manned mission there. Now that the Chinese have made it clear they are going to put men on the moon, hopefully that will spark more political will towards joint space exploration along with the EU, Russia,Brazil, India and China all of whom have a space program.
HomoSapiens have been on earth for arround 200,000 years and we are just beginning to dip our toes into space. Mars will have to wait just a bit longer, but we are on our way.
Want to help push mankind into space???? Write your washington representatives and urge them to support all space related legislature. Write often and get all your friends to do so as well.
We have had the potential to do so much more for quite some time but political will has been very weak on Space issues. Read the book ' A step further out' by Jerry Pournell and you will see how much time we have allready wasted