posted on May, 14 2012 @ 08:27 PM
Hi OP, to answer the question, I don't believe our children will see this in their lifetimes either.
As much as I would like to believe this, 20yrs is a stretch, 80 - 100 years maybe we could get a small craft to Mars / Venus and return safely.
Just the R&D on complex navigation systems alone would take 20+ years I dare say. Then assuming concurrent R&D activities of materials selection to
build, proving the ability to build (human vs machine), proving life support systems (all complex), survivability / habitats (food, water, health),
robust propulsion (primary, secondary & backup), life boats, protection (main spaceframe / structural not wepons), Training (generations of it) &
Testing... the list goes on and on... Then through a couple of production failures in this - back to the drawing board for re testing....
I don't think anyone is denying it can't be done, just everyone needs to want that common goal. Something which I don't believe we can get our
heads around in the next 20yrs alone.
Then there is time - just to get anywhere near our gas giants like Saturn or Jupiter at anything less than near c speeds will take many many years
then double that to get to Uranus. This is assuming we can get close to Voyager(s) 1 & 2 speeds of 56,000k's per hour. Which was only possible to an
apprent rare alignment of planets that happens every 175 years* or so not via our then advanced propulsion systems. It ultimately makes for a
compelling decision - effort vs reward. Unless we can get to the mind blowing 1/4 of light speed milestone say 75000 km per second (300,000 kms per
second for c) evening getting to know our solar systems will be quite the task.
I would love nothing more to believe we could be a space fairing race, where day trips to Saturn were possible, but I think machines will have that
luxury before humans. I really hope I am wrong.
Building something like the enterprise to go to the moon or mars at best in 20yrs seems a little.... rich.
* taken from Bill Brysons - A short history of nearly Everything. (a good read - a little dated though)