by Gerardo Tejeda
Humanity has always tried to go beyond its limits, especially when it comes to space travel. As new technology is developed, scientists are making discoveries giving an advantage during the Age of Space Exploration. So far, people have only been able to set foot on the moon, however, the next goal is to go to Mars and maybe even Venus. To visit other planets, people need to go back to the moon and set up a colony or even just a station that can allow ships to dock and get assistance for their missions as well as shelter astronauts. With 3d Printers, the possibilities of building a lunar base increase since the printers would use local materials to construct it. According to NASA, the European Space Agency has endorsed this concept to collaborate with architects and discuss the possibilities of 3d printing using lunar soil. 3d printing makes building things in outer space much more feasible compared to sending people and materials to outer space.
Fuel dependency also poses as an obstacle for space travel, fuels in chemical rockets take up too much room and do not provide enough energy for interstellar travel, nevertheless, other options exist. A good alternative is to use solar sails, which utilizes sun particles known as photons for propulsion. The upside to this is, as the vessel is travelling with solar sails, speed gradually increases over time and does not require another fuel source. The downside is that such solar sails would need to be built in space because of how large they are and since the sail requires sun light, as it gets farther away from the sun or star, the sail will run out of power. Although solar sails cannot be used for travel in deep space, missions to planets within the solar system can be made much easier. Another fuel source under development is hydrogen. The NASA website stated, hydrogen is the most plausible since it can be found anywhere in the universe. This means that a ship would only need to take enough fuel to get to its destination, refuel at its arrival and then be able to make it back to Earth. Not to mention, hydrogen is also good for protection against space radiation.
Communication is yet another problem in outer space. The Science Channel reported, a project being funded by NASA known as, Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, would use “laser beams to transfer data to Earth at speeds of 100 Mbps or more, making it possible to transmit a photographic image from Mars to Earth in about five minutes, compared to the current 90-minute wait. As astronauts travel in space, they would need a navigation system with a precise clock to avoid getting lost. Atomic clocks are under development and will be 100 times more stable than existing navigational clocks and they would enable astronauts to measure frequencies that calculate distances. All in all, with advancement in space research and technology, innovations in aeronautics will guarantee humans a future in the cosmos.