Human exploration in space has been a topic for generations. We have Star Trek, Star Wars, Interstellar; the list of movies and TV shows involving space exploration could go on forever. The majority of these fictional entertainment shows feature humans as the main explorers and machines/robots as either the helpful sidekick or inanimate object created in order to help humans explore. Yet, is that be the future of space exploration? Or will it be robots who are doing the majority of the exploring? I t is an interesting question, and Roger Launius did an exceptional job explaining the pros and cons of human space travel at Tuesday’s lecture.
Along with humans versus robotic exploration, Mr. Launius also brought up the topic of interstellar travel and four different methods of how it could be achieved. The first was to travel faster than the speed of light, but unfortunately, that is not possible. The second was multi-generational spaceships, which is a very interesting pickle indeed. How many generations would have to survive? Is it possible to sustain human life for such an extended period of time on a spaceship? The next method would be suspended animation, where you freeze the body and then revive once the spaceship has landed on a planet that could sustain human life. The last method is for humans to develop into extremely long-lived species. Basically, all these methods are either far into the future, or nearly impossible.
While I was quite disappointed to hear that human interstellar travel will not be taking place anytime in the near-future, Tuesday’s lecture was full of mind-opening and boggling information. I believe that human exploration in space has always held a type of fascination for our species as a whole and I hope that one day we will be able to achieve it.