Limitations of deep space travel:
Distance and Technical limitations of space travel:
Interstellar distances are of course immense, but it can be difficult to fathom quite how immense. Traveling to our closest star, Proxima Centauri, would be equivalent to traveling to and back from Pluto at its furthest distance from us in its orbit 2667 times. Even light, the fastest traveling entity in the universe, takes 4.24 years to reach us here on Earth from Proxima Centauri.
Unfortunately, current spacecraft technologies simply cannot travel such astronomical distances in feasible time frames, especially not when carrying the weight of hundreds of people to settle in other solar systems. Even using the fastest ever crewed spacecraft, Apollo 10, which traveled at approximately 40,000 km/h, it would take over 115,000 years to complete the journey to Proxima Centauri.
Considering the future possibility of extended, crewed missions, food storage, and resupply are relevant limitations. From a storage point of view, NASA estimates a 3-year Mars mission would require around 24 thousand pounds (approx. 10,000 kg) of food, most of it in the form of precooked, dehydrated meals of about 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) a portion.
As for resupply, efforts have been made to recycle, reuse and produce, to make storage more efficient. Water can be produced through chemical reactions of Hydrogen and Oxygen in fuel cells, and attempts and methods of growing vegetables in microgravity are being developed and will continue to be researched. Lettuce has already successfully grown in the ISS’s “Veggie plant growth system”, and has been consumed by the astronauts, even though large-scale plantation is still impractical, due to factors such as pollination, long growth periods, and lack of efficient planting pillows.
“Space exploration isn’t simply a sign of humanity’s hubris or a brazen desire to find new places to live and new sources of wealth. If we take the risk of venturing beyond our terrestrial home, it’s also to learn more about ourselves and our planet, improve life on Earth, and maybe, just maybe, find or create a new future for our generation”.