Human Technological Advancement
Advancements in flight and our immediate attempts at space travel have progressed at a rapid pace. The rocket dates back to 13th century China. Consider some of the following significant steps. In 1781 James Watt patented a steam engine that produced continuous rotation. The practical application of this engine came into use with Richard Trevithick of the United Kingdom when he invented the steam locomotive in 1804. Although telegraphy began in the late 18th century, it became useful when Samuel Morse in 1837 launched a successful experiment with an electrical recording telegraph. Nikola Tesla among other inventors demonstrated wireless telegraphy, beginning in the 1890s. Albert Turpain sent and received the first radio signal, using Morse code, in France, up to 25 meters in 1895. Guglielmo Marconi sent and received his first radio signal in Italy up to 6 kilometres in 1896.
The history of our first manned flight by heavier than air machine was in 1903. In 1937, as Amelia Earhart began her quest to fly around the earth in her twin-engine piston powered aircraft, she became lost over the Pacific and was declared legally dead in 1939.
The first successful orbiting chemical powered rocket was launched in 1957 from Russia. The first television weather satellite was launched in 1960. In 1961 the first manned space-flight by Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin lasted 60 minutes. In August of that same year Gherman Titov orbited & traveled in his space ship for more than a day (25 hours). 1965 was a busy year, Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, USSR took the first ‘space-walk’, followed by an American ‘space-walk’ by astronaut Ed White. NASA also launched their first commercial communications satellite weighing in at 87 pounds, Intelsat 1, in geosynchronous orbit over 27′ W longitude. Humans first stepped on the moon in 1969 by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin.
The American space shuttle was launched in 1981 using the USS Columbia. The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003 as it attempted to re-enter earth atmosphere. The Space Shuttle Challenger launch disaster preceded this accident in 1986. The Apollo 17 lunar module that landed on the Moon in 1972 was also named Challenger. It was the last manned moon landing NASA has so far conducted.
The Next Big Step in Human Space Exploration
It takes 100,000 years for light to travel the full extent of the Milky Way Galaxy. Anything we view in the distant reaches of space with a telescope has occurred thousands of years before we see it. This means some of the things we currently look at could have been destroyed long before we see it in a telescope.
Radio communication are even slower. As we have attempted to listen in on the possible communication of other life forms, anything we can hear has occurred long before any of us were born. It’s quite possible if such communication were picked up and we could decipher it, that civilization might no longer exist or be significantly more advanced than ours.
There’s a lot of scientific discovery required before humans can truly explore the furthermost reaches of visible space. No chemical rocket is fast enough to make meaningful exploration. Nothing we could build and launch could store sufficient quantities of this type of fuel, therefore newer technology such as Ion drive perhaps powered by nuclear reactor would allow longer missions. In addition to advancements in propulsion, human longevity would need to be substantially increased.
If you were to use Star Trek fiction as a guide to speed and exploration, a ship traveling at warp 10 (10 times the speed of light) wouldn’t get very far even if piloted by weaned infants. Cryogenics might be the answer but awakened after 500 years of frozen solitude on a charted course, even at warp 10, these explorers would have only traveled 5000 light years. Simply stated, they would have barely moved into the adjacent suburbs of our known galaxy. For purposes of minimizing the length of this blog I won’t start in on computer and navigation control breakthroughs necessary to evade moving objects in space while traveling at or above light speed.
Why Aliens Haven’t Visited Earth (so far)
If nothing else, these simple explanations demonstrate why aliens haven’t crash landed near Roswell New Mexico in 1947. The science needed to travel from outside our cosmic neighborhood would require vastly superior technology than anything you might read in a book, magazine or on the Internet. To any alien space explorer, able to reach the earth, we would be seen as a new infant child among advanced University scholars. I’m beyond being a skeptic, it hasn’t occurred because no intelligent organism lives close enough to complete such a mission.
Inhospitable Venus surrounded by acidic gases is so hot it can melt lead. Mars is a planet without atmosphere or water above ground. We have progressed well beyond believing there’s a man in the moon or intelligent aliens from the planet Mars. Let’s leave Grey Aliens with large head & eyes along with crop circles to the Bigfoot enthusiast.
- 7 Greatest Alien Planet Discoveries by NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft (So Far) (space.com)
- 10 Weird And Fascinating Facts About Space Travel (listverse.com)
- Searching for Alien Life, One Text at a Time (businessweek.com)
- Star Trek: Sir Martin Rees: ‘How post-humans could colonise other worlds’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- NASA’s Planet-Hunting Kepler Telescope Will Have Long Legacy, Despite Big Glitch (space.com)
- Rare Stellar Alignment Gives NASA The Opportunity To Search For Alien Planets (hngn.com)