I’m sure most people have heard about Virgin Galactic and the exciting project that will allow ordinary (albeit wealthy) people to book a ticket to go into space but have you really stopped to think about this and what this means for our future?
100 years ago one of the first passenger aircraft’s flew across Eastern Europe, today there are thousands of flights all over the world every day. It’s so common and easy to travel by plane that we don’t give it a second thought, but does this mean 100 years from now our families will be flying into space in just the same way that we fly to New York or Dubai?!
This question has been on my mind for some time now and I’m quite sure that at the rapid rate our technology is developing this isn’t unlikely. I’ve been looking at the Virgin Galactic website and I already feel like I am in the future. The website is stunning and definitely grabbed my attention, however, what I found most interesting is how I felt like booking my place is almost as easy as booking a seat on a Virgin Atlantic aircraft! I can choose my flight option and I can even select to travel exclusively with 5 friends, I found myself starting to complete the application form it was so simple! Of course, there is the slight issue of the USD250,000 ticket price, but I can worry about that later!
My next question is, how dangerous is it, I mean, surely, flying into space is risky isn’t it?
Well, that’s what I thought until I read more about it. The website describes everything in such great detail and there is so much information about the spacecrafts and their designs. Plus, so many people have signed up already, more than 500, surely they wouldn’t go if they thought it was going to be the last thing they did, they’d have to be really crazy.
Then I read that Sir Richard Branson will be taking the first commercial flight into space. Now, we all know that he is a little bit crazy, BUT, he won’t be going alone, he will be taking his children with him. So, that’s it, I’m sold, no-one, no matter how crazy and fearless they are, would allow their children to participate in something they were doing unless they had absolute confidence that they would be safe. My guess is that 50 years ago people would have thought that flying over the Atlantic was dangerous however we now know that flying is the safest form of public transport and most of us do it regularly!
Like many children, when I was young I was amazed by space. Looking out into the night sky at the stars wondering what else could be there. Reading about all of the planets and moons and imagining what it would be like to see them, drawing pictures and memorising the names of the planets in our solar system. There were all the movies with spaceships and Astronauts, so many times you would see Earth as the blue and green coloured ball through the windows of their spaceships! I remember once saying to my Grandad, “I want to be an Astronaut when I grow up”, to which he replied, “you can be anything you want!” I think at the time, he didn’t really mean that, I’m sure he wasn’t expecting me to grow up to be an Astronaut. However, now, 25 years on, it’s quite possible that I can be. Maybe not as a career, but, money permitting, I can go to space … Incredible, I can actually go into space! Wow.
If going into space is now a reality, what else is possible in our lifetime? It seems that really, anything is possible.
The technology we use is becoming more and more sophisticated, even in our day to day life, using the internet we encounter Artificial Intelligence daily, for example, when certain adverts are directed at you because of online purchases or searches you made in the past. All of these things are becoming more and more accessible.
We may not think we have robots working alongside us everyday but there are machines that do most of our thinking and most of our manufacturing and we rely on them more than we realise. There are also incredible stories of real life bionic limbs and lifesaving operations that use the precision of technology. Then there’s the movies released this year such as Robocop and The Machine which show how close we are to living with robots in our every day lives.
Check out the trailer for The Machine here:
[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVGo86dkKog” ]
There is also currently some very exciting research taking place at SpaceX where they are building the world’s first re-usable rockets and there are other projects taking place that are allowing people to apply to go to Mars! The Mars One project expects to have the first people landing on Mars in 2023 … that’s not very far into the future at all. Furthermore, these people will not just be visiting, they will be re-locating, purchasing a ticket to Mars is one way only. Once you get there, you can never return. They will be trained over a period of 8 years before departure and will have to learn to do everything themselves, medical treatments, growing food and repairing or building their shelters. This seems like a very big challenge, you have to wonder who would agree to such a thing. The answer to that is over 100,000 people who have already applied! People are excited about this and want to be involved, it doesn’t matter that they can never come back, they want to be a part of history and to see if it’s possible to colonise Mars.
The first time I heard about The Mars One project my boyfriend said he would love to do it, not now, but maybe in 20-30 years when we’re older, because by then, not coming home would be less important.
When he asked if I would go with him, the first thing I said (and this is so ridiculous) was, “I’ll go if there are potatoes”
You see, I love potatoes, they’re my favourite food and I eat them in various ways almost every other day. The thought of re-locating to a place without potatoes is just too difficult for me. I need to do some investigation, if it’s possible that potatoes will grow on Mars then I am definitely considering it! That’s the deal-breaker!