Space is the Final Frontier. Humanity has conquered the Earth, Air, and Water. The only dimension that needs further exploration is Outer Space. There too humanity has made great strides. And yet, the more we discover, the more questions arise. Inter-Stellar exploration is a vital facet of Space Exploration. It is the only way with which Humanity has any hope of colonizing other planets and become a truly space-faring power. The one thing that is still not worked out is how to get humanity to the stars!! Our scientists are hard at work to sort that out. Presenting 10 awesome Space Vehicle Concepts that would one day take humanity to the stars!!
The Concept of the Bussard Ramjet is rather simple. The one impediment that halts all space exploration missions is fuel. The more fuel you have, the more mass you take in, making you heavier. If you take less fuel, you won’t be able to go much further. The Bussard Ramjet bypasses that problem by using massive magnetically charged tethers to collect floating Hydrogen atoms (which outer space has plenty of) and use them as fuel. Given enough time, the Bussard Ramjet can get as fast as 0.8 times the speed of light which is good enough.
Solar Sails are no longer an imaginary concept. They have been proven to be workable when Japan used a 196 square meter Solar Sail to propel their IKAROS spacecraft to Venus. Solar Sails work like regular sails but instead of wind, they are propelled by photons released from the sun. As the Sails move further away from the sun, the photons will decrease in number so scientists propose using a high powered laser to fill the gap.
Fusion Drives are actually a concept derived from a popular science fiction series – Star Trek. They are 300 times more powerful than chemical rockets and they use nuclear energy to generate electricity that can be used to charge electrons and use them as the spacecraft’s propulsion system. They may sound farfetched but they are actually feasible to make.
What if Humanity never achieves faster than Light technology? In that case, slow-moving ships could do the job. The ships would be huge and house hundreds of families within it. They would give birth to their own children who would later become the new generation of space travelers that would later take up the role of their parents.
Project Daedalus is a concept conjured up by the British Interplanetary Society in their quest to develop a feasible Interstellar space ship using 1973 technology. That’s right folks. This spaceship is actually possible to make using the age-old 1973 technology. The idea is to use nuclear explosions as propulsion. Special deuterium pellets will be periodically fired into reactors where they will explode to give rise to a powerful nuclear-powered pulse propulsion wave. The Vehicle could eventually reach 12% of the speed of light and the nearest star in 46 years.
Plasma Propulsion technology already exists in today’s time. The idea is to use electric currents and ions in place of non-reactive fuels. The result would be faster, more powerful propulsion. The world’s most powerful Plasma rocket is the VASIMR. It can propel a spacecraft to Mars in just under 39 days!!!
The Ion Drive does not provide much thrust. Its impulse is equal to the pressure imparted on your palm by a sheet of paper. What it does score in is fuel conservation. Ion Drives use non-reactive elements that are magnetically charged and shot out the back. A few molecules can help a spacecraft traverse the same distance that a kilo of fuel does in chemical rockets.
If you want to explore the stars, it is not mandatory to include astronauts. The Nanocraft concept uses tiny silicon chips with millions of tiny electric circuitries that could do the job an entire crew of astronaut is tasked with. It is powered by nanoscale engines that use electric fields and charged plates as modes of propulsion.
Thermal Fission Rocket
Thermal Fission has been tried and tested as a concept. And NASA originally designed it to carry people to Mars and even beyond. Thermal fission rockets use regular rocket propellants that are super-heated using nuclear energy and shot out through the propulsion systems. The thrust was low but was extremely efficient. America even made the NERVA rocket that was to take Astronauts to Mars but sadly, Richard Nixon shelved the project.
Humanity’s most efficient energy generation technology is Nuclear Fusion. It converts 1 percent of its mass into pure energy. On the other hand, Anti-Matter could convert 40% of its mass to pure energy. Anti-Matters are just what they sound like. They have an opposite charge and spin and they violently react after coming into contact with regular matter. And that is the impediment that is stopping NASA from producing this next generation fuel. A spoonful of Anti-Matter is enough to propel a spacecraft to Mars in just 45 days!!