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Monday, December 4th 2006

I Love Space Exploration

I’ve was never a kid with a telescope. But man, I think manned space exploration is so exciting. And now we have two major calls for permanent human outposts beyond Earth. First, NASA wants a permanent lunar post,

NASA’s plans for returning people to the moon — an objective called for by President Bush in 2004 — includes establishing a permanent outpost that would be used to prepare for a manned trip to Mars.

NASA Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz said the goal is to conduct the first manned missions to the moon by 2020, starting with short stays by four-person crews that would establish the outpost.

He estimated that perhaps by 2024 there might be a continual presence on the surface, with crews rotating in and out, as is done with the international space station.

Sounds good to me. A more non-specific, long term goal was recently espoused by Stephen Hawking.

“Once we spread out into space and establish colonies, our future should be safe.”

He said there were no similar planets to Earth in our Solar System so humans would “have to go to another star”.

Professor Hawking said that current chemical and nuclear rockets were not adequate for taking colonists into space as they would mean a journey of 50,000 years.

He also discounted using warp drive to travel at the speed of light for taking people to a new outpost.

Instead, he favoured “matter/anti-matter annihilation” as a means of propulsion.

Let’s get up there and get going.