No Money for Mars? What?

This is beginning to read like a Soap Opera. NASA has turned around and admitted that their current budget might not allow them to achieve their goals of a 2030 presence on the red Planet (They do state that their budget might increase in the future, but who’s to know?)

The biggest stumbling block right now appears to be Landing on Mars, and then leaving again. The technologies don’t exist, and NASA is spending most of it’s funding on the SLS, which is designed to get man to Mars in the first place.

But why? Why are NASA spending so much money on a Launch System (Working with Boeing) when SpaceX has already almost overtaken them with its Falcon rocket system? Why not allow and support SpaceX in continuing to develop this system, and turn it’s focus instead to the tricky challenge of landing us on the planet?

Once on Mars, Bigelow enterprises are working on feasible habitat systems – let them carry on doing that, which is another thing off NASA’s shoulders.

SpaceX have announced they’d like to have a man on Mars by 2025. if their target is 5 years earlier than NASA’s, and, based on their current rate of development, seems pretty feasible, why is NASA not working with them to achieve that? Why have a separate timeline?

C’mon guys, get it together!

Anton Kossmann

Cities of the Future (1)

In my last post I mentioned that there wasn’t much going on in the way of developing technologies that would enable us to live on or under the Oceans. It appears I was wrong, as a team of Dutch Engineers has designed a prototype floating city, and are currently seeking funding to develop their idea into a viable project.

As most of the Netherlands currently sits below Sea level, I guess the Dutch have quite a vested interest in alternative technologies such as this!

Looking a bit deeper, there have been a few concepts thrown about in the last few years, ranging from Ark-Style islands to the Venus project (Which looks awesome!)

I’m not sure about you, but i think living on a floating city would be pretty cool. Not as cool as Space, but i guess there’d be lot less stuff trying to kill you, anyways!

Anton Kossmann

The Extinction of the Species?

I read recently that Stephen Hawking is going to host a BBC documentary, highlighting why mankind needs to have colonised a new world within the next 100 years – he believes we’ll face certain extinction if we haven’t made it off-planet by then.

While some might see this as a bit over-dramatic, i think he might have a point.

Lets look at just 3 of the reasons this might happen:

Nuclear Fallout – This is an obvious, and ever-growing threat. It’s not just North-Korea that has nukes; the USA, Russia and China are all heavily armed, and relations are decidedly frosty these days. All it takes is one.

Disease – Besides all the other well-documented side-effects of Global Warming, the ability for viruses to thrive outside their previously natural habitats (whether transmitted by humans, or carried by Mosquito’s) is increasing every year. The office I work in has seen more Sick days this previous winter than ever recorded before. The mild weather has provided a wonderful breeding ground for Flu and cold viruses to keep active.

Rising Sea levels – One of the main effects of Global Warming is a predicted 1 – 1.2m sea level rise by the year 2100 (though opinions on this do differ). The question is, what is the real fallout of this going to be? ClimateCentral has a fantastic tool which will show you the effects of sea level rise around the world – I’ve discovered that by 2100, my little house might be beachfront property!

While I doubt many people are going to get caught out by the rising tides, the question remains, where would they move to? And not just them, mind, but all the businesses that employ them would likely have to move as well (especially in the case of cities like London, New York, Miami, Dubai, etc.).

Would they go inland? Possibly, yes. But what’s inland right now? In a lot of places, not a lot it seems. But if we look closer, there isn’t much land that’s not being used for farming, or as Nature conservation zones. Populate that, and suddenly there’s less food being produced, and already endangered animals are pushed even closer to the brink. Seeing as we’re already facing food shortages pretty much world-wide, that just makes an existing problem even worse.

So what about the sea? It’s entirely possible we could build cities underwater, or on water, but where is the action in developing these technologies that would allow us to do this?

That kind of just leaves Space, doesn’t it. Which isn’t exactly the most welcoming environment for our soft, squishy human bodies. So, if we’re all going to be dead in 100 years on Earth, we’d better get cracking at moving on!

I’ve only discussed 3 potential reasons for Mankind’s Extinction – I’m pretty sure there’s many more – Please feel free to add your opinions in the Comments section! I’m also most definitely looking forward to watching Expedition New Earth, hopefully it’ll provide us all with some sort of hope for the future!

Anton Kossmann

Is there anyone out there?!

So, there’s a new, potentially habitable, planet out there, only 40 Light-years away. Practically touching distance, galactically speaking. Add this to the 7 Trappist planets that NASA announced a couple of months ago, and we have a veritable feast of potential new and habitable worlds right on our doorstep.

Or not, as it were.

Let’s be brutally honest; none of us alive right now, or our kids, or grand kids for that matter, will ever set foot on these alien worlds.

Luckily there is a second, just as interesting search going on at present – the search for life within our own solar system. In the last few months we’ve heard of Water Plumes coming off Enceladus, with some of the right chemical compounds hinting at life, and for years we’ve known of the ocean on Europa. You’d think it’s only a matter of time before mankind finally gets a rover / Submarine out there, and then who know’s what discoveries might await us!

With all the talk of potential life existing within our own Solar System, it’s great to see that NASA is making progress in getting a vehicle up to Europa, with several different aspects of the mission now being discussed.

Do you think we’ll find life out there?

Anton Kossmann

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