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The Earth, The Heavens(and beyond!)

May 1, 2012

…assuming that we DID manage to get all the bugs and most of the risks involved in launching craft into space pretty much ironed out, down pat, old hat, that kind of thing, what would the next step be? Would a new space station be the first Big Project, or would investors, explorers, daring souls and so forth make a beeline for the Moon? Or, would it be Mars? Or, will it be to the asteroids? Or, will we sit home and just watch satellite TV? 

 

When you’re talking about space, you’re talking vacuum, and hard radiation, no more Van Allen belt to hide behind. Maybe they’ll figure out how to do some magnetic ship shielding, but that stuff’s still mainly the purview of science fiction. You’re talking A Lot Of Power to do that trick. So, the shielding will not only have to be 100% airtight, but will also have to do a really good job of keeping radiation off the astronuts brave enough and crazy enough to spend several months together in the beer can while it drifts to wherever. The Moon, that would be short transit, probably short enough to get passengers there without sedating them, but Mars, that’s like, 6 months, to a year or more worth of space travel. Now, previous and current astronauts, Skylab, Mir, and now the ISS, have done extended ‘tours’ Up There, in zero-G, and they’ve had some problems, but so far no one’s gone postal, that we know of. Well, there was that one astronaut-lady in her diaper that went driving cross-country, but that was after the landing.  How about the rest of us? If you had to spend 3,6,9 months cooped up with people you didn’t really know very well, or like very much, and you literally couldn’t go anywhere else, how would you fare? Would you go barkers, not being able to go take a walk, get away from annoyances? Some people are very tolerant and able to get along even under hard circumstances, others, not so much.  Could you still do your job? Would The Others have to tie you up in the storage locker?   Indeed, many questions about the innerspace, in outer space….

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