The Astonishing Future Of Space Travel

“The Future of Space Travel” -written by Varun Bhalerao.

The concept of traveling between stars throughout the universe has been envisioned by humanity for thousands of years. Until recently, this has purely been through our imagination, but with recent leaps in technological development in the last 50 years, this notion has turned from fiction into a real and exciting possibility. Not only this, interstellar space travel is becoming increasingly necessary as our pursuit to find and understand extraterrestrial life grows exponentially, and as we uncover more information about the finite resources and environmental problems we face here on Earth.

Orion module in space
Artist depiction of the Orion module in space [Credit : NASA]

Why do we need Space Travel?

The key idea of space travel is to colonize outer space. Space colonization as it sounds ensures the survival of human civilization in a given planetary disaster. We can’t subdivide Earth’s useful resource pie; we need to make the pie bigger. It is the promise of resources from the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and the Sun that makes space such hope for our future.

The world population is most likely to double within 40 years and re-double rapidly after that, but world resources will not. In space, solar power is infinite which reduces the need to use forests and oil and coal merely for fuel, and eliminates the pollution they cause, as do asteroid metals. These unlimited resources would permit us to reduce the plundering of our planet. But to obtain these resources will require large structures in space and the rockets to get there. Learning how to construct those things to obtain such space resources is a long step-by-step process. If we want to have those resources earlier then it’s far too late, we need to begin now.

Future Missions in Space :

Crewed Missions:

The Artemis program is an ongoing crewed spaceflight program carried out by NASA, U.S. commercial spaceflight companies, and international partners such as ESA, with the goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by the year 2024.

The SpaceX Starship is planned to be a spacecraft launched as the second stage of a reusable launch vehicle. The concept is under development by SpaceX, as a private spaceflight project. It is being designed to be a long-duration cargo- and passenger-carrying spacecraft. While it will be tested on its own initiative, it will be used on orbital launches with an additional booster stage, the Super Heavy, where Starship would serve as the second stage on a two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. The combination of spacecraft and booster is called Starship as well.

ISRO’s future Gaganyaan mission, which is the first Indian Human Spaceflight Programme, comprises a crew module which is a fully autonomous spacecraft designed to carry a 3-member crew to orbit and safely return to the Earth after a mission duration of up to seven days. It is to be launched on the GSLV Mk III launcher no earlier than 2022.

A test version of SpaceX’s Starship [ credits: Pauline Acalin]

Private Spaceflight:

Private spaceflight is not a new concept. In the United States, commercial companies played a role in the aerospace industry right from the start: Since the 1960s, NASA has relied on private contractors to build spacecraft for every major human spaceflight program, starting with Project Mercury and continuing until the present.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is expanding the agency’s relationship with private companies. Through it, NASA is relying on SpaceX and Boeing to build spacecraft capable of carrying humans into orbit. Once those vehicles are built, both companies retain ownership and control of the craft, and NASA can send astronauts into space for a fraction of the cost of a seat on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

SpaceX established a new paradigm by developing reusable rockets and has been running regular cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station since 2012. And in May 2020, the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft carried NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the ISS, becoming the first crewed mission to launch from the United States in nearly a decade. Boeing is currently developing its Starliner spacecraft and hopes to begin carrying astronauts to the ISS in 2021.

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are some major private cooperators specializing in sub-orbital space tourism. Test launch video from inside the cabin of Blue Origin’s New Shepard shows off breathtaking views of our planet and a relatively calm journey for its first passenger, Virgin Galactic is running test flights on its suborbital spaceplane, which will offer to pay customers roughly six minutes of weightlessness during its journey through Earth’s atmosphere.

The capsule for Orion, which will transport humans to interplanetary destinations beyond low Earth orbit, such as the moon and eventually Mars. [Credit: NASA]

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”.



1 Comment

  • graliontorile
    Posted August 7, 2022 1:59 pm 0Likes

    Your style is so unique compared to many other people. Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity,Guess I will just make this bookmarked.2

Leave a comment