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Tech & Science What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars

07:10  17 july  2019
07:10  17 july  2019 Source:   inews.co.uk

Felt-tip pen that re-wrote history: A broken circuit in the lunar lander meant the first men on the moon were stranded and facing death, but salvation came in an unlikely form

Felt-tip pen that re-wrote history: A broken circuit in the lunar lander meant the first men on the moon were stranded and facing death, but salvation came in an unlikely form JONATHAN MAYO: After completing their experiments on the moon Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin got back inside the Eagle. To Aldrin's horror he sees a circuit breaker switch that has broken off. Aldrin scans the instrument panels and gulps when he sees that the switch is for electrical power to the ascent engine that will hopefully get them safely back to Columbia. They report the issue to Mission Control, then, because the module is cold, put their gloves and helmets on and try to sleep. Many Brits who have been up all night watching the coverage are arriving late for work. 2.

In the year 2029, 60 years after Apollo 11, a Chinese crew lands on the surface, respectfully close to the site of Removing the need to carry the propellant for a return journey all the way to Mars reduces the mission size and cuts costs. This echoes the achievement of Apollo 12 on the Moon in 1969

NASA aims to travel to the moon again—and beyond. Welcome to the 21st-century space race, one that could potentially lead to 10-minute space vacations, orbiting space hotels This year , SpaceX achieved a major milestone—launching humans to the International Space Station (ISS) from the

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

In March 2019, the US Vice President Mike Pence publicly challenges NASA to mount a crewed return to the Moon before the end of 2024. This would be the last year of a second term for President Trump – it’s an echo of President Kennedy’s call for a Moon landing before the end of the 1960s, which led to the Apollo programme.

The NASA of the 2020s is not the young and nimble organisation of 1960. However, the challenge is accepted. In fact, NASA, with its overseas partners, has already begun the development of new lunar technology.

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Getty

This depends on a heavy-lift launcher called the Space Launch System, which is a rival to the Saturn V; an Apollo-like spacecraft being developed with the Europeans; and the Lunar Gateway, a space station in lunar orbit, from which astronauts could descend to the surface.

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The physical exploration of the Moon began when Luna 2, a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959.

The next 50 years of human spaceflight should bring a sea change, with commercial spaceflight We may see permanently manned outposts on the moon , and boots will likely have crunched into Mars ' We could establish an extensive and protracted presence in Earth orbit, on the moon and beyond

All that is missing is a lander, a new Lunar Module. But the private company Blue Origin steps up to the plate, with a design it has been developing since 2016. And so the first lunar mission since Apollo launches in late 2024.

The Moon's first tragedy

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By now, however, the decade of the Moon is in full swing. Visits from automated landers and rovers have been launched by a variety of countries, including the Europeans, Japan, India and – most ambitiously – China, which attempts sample-return flights.

Still, it is believed that the majority of humankind watch or listen on 13 November 2024 – just inside Pence’s deadline – as Nasa astronauts Jeff Krauss and Kaui Pukui begin their cautious descent towards the Mare Imbrium, the first lunar crew since Apollo 17.

How Brian O'Brien's lunar dust detector sketched on a whisky coaster made it to the moon

How Brian O'Brien's lunar dust detector sketched on a whisky coaster made it to the moon More than 50 years ago, on a flight between Los Angeles and Houston, physicist Brian O'Brien dreamed up the idea of a so-called lunar dust detector, and it was not long after that the Apollo astronauts were placing it on the moon.

Within the next 50 years , space travel won't just be used for exploration and learning, but big businesses will make money selling experiences to Following this, Nasa will look at establishing a sustainable human presence (which they are hoping to do on the Moon before this) on Mars .

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) performed a controlled crash impact with its Moon However, at an altitude of 2.1 km from the Moon a few minutes before soft landing, the lander lost The next two returned to Earth and burned up upon reentry into the atmosphere after achieved

In the year 2029, 60 years after Apollo 11, a Chinese crew lands on the surface, respectfully close to the site of the 2024 US landing attempt.

The Pence mission had always been premature. Krauss and Pukui were not the first to land on the Moon, but, six years after their disastrous descent, they are the first to be buried there.

Pictures: Cool i

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars

Mission to Mars

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

it’s in the 2030s That humans finally land on Mars – using a technology strategy already decades old.

Back in 1990, a team of engineers led by Robert Zubrin presented NASA with a new plan to get people to Mars, called “Mars Direct”. The core of it was a scheme to manufacture rocket fuel on Mars, by using the Red Planet’s carbon dioxide air to make methane. Removing the need to carry the propellant for a return journey all the way to Mars reduces the mission size and cuts costs.

The mission unfolds across several launch windows. First, an uncrewed Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) is sent to Mars, along with an automated factory for manufacturing the methane propellant. The stratagem is designed for safety. The human crew do not launch until their return ship is safely on Mars and fuelled up.

The arrival of humans

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Getty

At last, on 4 April 2038, a crew drawn from four nations – the US, Russia, China, and the European Federation – travelling in a ship assembled at Lagrange Station in Earth orbit, lands on Mars. Zubrin lives to see his vision fulfilled.

The landing site is in the Ares Vallis, close to the remains of Nasa’s Pathfinder probe. This echoes the achievement of Apollo 12 on the Moon in 1969, which had tested navigation techniques by landing within walking distance of an inert Surveyor probe. It is necessary for the ERV and lander to touch down close to each other – and Pathfinder is as good a marker to aim for as any.

There are other objectives, such as in examining the behaviour of materials. But just as reaching the Surveyor was a mission highlight for the Apollo astronauts, it is a cultural feat to visit the monument. A shot of mission commander Martha Ono cradling Pathfinder’s tiny Sojourner rover in her arms is the most forwarded post in social media history.

Space archaeologists, however, howl with anguish.

Pictures: Coolest images from Space X mission

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars
What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars

The new space race: Designs of the future

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Getty Pathfinder spacecraft Sojourner robot rover explorer on surface of planet Mars.

The Moon bases

In the 1970s, the apparent lack of water in Apollo Moon rock samples had been a grave disappointment. Water could have been cracked into hydrogen and oxygen to supply breathable air and rocket fuel. Without water, the Moon was much less interesting a destination.

But by 2020 extensive water deposits had already been discovered in wide areas of the Moon, in the form of hydroxyl compounds. And in 2028 a dramatic discovery by the Chinese of easily accessible water-ice in the shadows of the lunar north pole suddenly revived old optimism.

By the 2030s, astronauts from many nations have reached the Moon. And colonies have quickly developed – extracting metals and other materials for various purposes, including the manufacture of heavy components of habitats and Mars ships. The endless, unshielded sunlight is an obvious energy resource.

The principles of outer space law are still upheld: you can exploit lunar resources, but there is no sovereignty. No nation owns the Moon. The colonists are happy.

The spaceplanes

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Getty

In the early days of space exploration, expensive launchers such as the Saturn V were thrown away after one use. A true spaceplane would take off unassisted from a runway, reach orbit, then return to land.

The major issue is that such a craft can’t carry all its own fuel, and the oxidiser to burn that fuel. A jet must collect oxygen from the air, but if the craft itself is travelling faster than sound, the intake of air creates drag.

In 2025 the first true spaceplane flies. Skylon’s engine works like a conventional jet up to five times the speed of sound, at which point the engine switches to an internal liquid oxygen supply. True space tourism briefly blossoms, before becoming deeply unfashionable in a new age of climate management.

What the next 20 years of space travel could achieve — from the Moon to mankind on Mars © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Robotic exploration

Two large, expensive and elderly probes finally reach Jupiter in the 2030s: NASA’s Europa Clipper, set in orbit around Jupiter to make multiple flybys of the potentially life-bearing moon Europa; and ESA’s Juice, the Jupiter icy moons explorer.

The probes are magnificent and return good science. But having been designed and built before 2020, they now seem too big, too heavy and frustratingly dumb – in contrast to a new generation of small, smart probes being sent out to explore the asteroid belt and beyond.

Video provided by Agence France-Presse
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