I'm looking foward to space planes and to more planetary exploration robot rovers
Kevin F. Owens
December 10, 2012
I believe manned deep space exploration will accelerate when our vehicles for getting to space advances from chemical to fusion thrust and using re-entry heat shielding that can work better than is presently available, in other words have manned spacecraft that operate like passenger airliners. I speculate those advances will be as important as was the changes from steam power to internal combustion in its day. Maybe within two centuries these spacecraft will be delivering immigrants to the Moon, because it is so close, and to Mars, because its surface is the most Earth-like of non-terrestrial destination in the solar system. Immigrants to Mars will live in underground cities to protect against air pressure loss, heat loss, dust storms, and solar radiation threats. These equatorial population centers will be supplied by water from the polar glaciers. That ice after melting, is converted to component hydrogen and oxygen gas for piping to equatorial population and agricultural centers to berecombined into water However, what I would like to see in the near term is heightened advocacy for more surface exploratory robotics, similar to Mars land rovers Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity. I try to imagine what we could learn about the Moon, or Venus, or Europa if we had intelligent machines, comparable to Curiosity. Robot explorers, designed to function in the hostile environment, could travel those surfaces for years, without the expense or worry of keeping a human crew alive. It is a disappointment that the Moon is not being explored at this time by robot rovers. Once valuable assets are revealed by the robots, it would be easier to motivate private investors to finance sending prospectors to establish real estate claims with other than taxpayer funding. My inspiration for human presence on Mars or the Moon is the California and Klondike gold rushes (that my ancestors were a part of). The lure of gold motivated a lot of people to go there. I have a feeling that a human future on the planets will also be the discovery of valuable resources comparable to gold.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.