10 interesting and crazy space technologies and ideas for the future

10 interesting and crazy space technologies and ideas for the future

The material used the abstracts from the meeting of the SV business school for teenagers. amp.

About experts:

  • Leonid Soloviev - Operations Director of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation;
  • Mikhail Kokorich - Founder of Momentus Space and Astro Digital.

On the search for extraterrestrial life and exploration of the future

Leonid Soloviev:

The biggest question, the answer to which we still do not know, is whether we are alone in the universe or not. He was the driving force behind Breakthrough Listen, our project to search for radio or optical signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. If the laws of physics are the same throughout the entire Universe, the radio wave is the most accessible way of communication that civilizations could have. We have been actively sending signals into space for the past 100 years: radio, television broadcasts, stronger radars, with which we track the position of aircraft and space objects in orbit.

If we imagine that the Earth is a ball, from which radio signals emanate in different directions, then we are visible in the Universe at a distance of 100 light years. We use the largest radio telescopes in the world, collect data, perform preliminary analysis and post them freely on the website. Anyone can use the archive to try to find unusual patterns of artificial origin.

So far, of course, we haven't found extraterrestrial life. The universe is too big, and it will take years, even hundreds and thousands of years, before a signal from some distant planet can reach us. My explanation for why we haven't found anyone yet is that an advanced form of life is quite rare, and it is very far from us. And the simple life, I'm pretty sure, is quite common, and we will find evidence of this over the next three to five years.

Our second project is Breakthrough Watch, in which we are trying to find Earth-like planets in the closest star systems, for example, Alpha Centauri.

The third project is called Breakthrough Starshot. We want to prove that humanity can send a spaceship to another star. We've all seen Star Wars, Star Trek and other space films, and we imagine a spaceship as a kind of huge space in which people live and fly to other stars. In reality, the exploration of interstellar space is likely to happen differently, because all the stars are very distant from us. The closest, Alpha Centauri, is about four light years away. This means that if we flew on it at the speeds at which rockets fly, this flight would take us about 40 thousand years. Nobody will wait that long. Therefore, our idea is to apply the Silicon Valley approach to space exploration and send robots there, namely very small robots - about 1x1 cm.They will not be able to carry fuel with them, we will accelerate them using a sail and a very powerful light beam. Our preliminary calculations show that such a miniature spacecraft can accelerate to 20% the speed of light and reach Alpha Centauri in about 20 years.

Business in space: entrepreneurs talked about trends and the future of the industry

The scientific progress of recent years has allowed man to significantly expand his understanding of the Universe, but in its depths there is still a lot of unknown. Large-scale space exploration is constrained by the high cost and low efficiency of spacecraft. Aerospace agencies and companies around the world are developing new space technologies that address this problem and make possible interplanetary travel and the continuation of the search for unearthly life forms.

Elevator to Space

The Obayashi Corporation from Japan in 2012 announced its work on the creation of an elevator into space, which should be completed by 2050. For this, it is planned to build a cosmodrome on Earth, which will be connected with the one located at an altitude of 35,500 km. from the earth's surface by a space station. It will house living quarters and space laboratories. The objects will be connected using a cable made of carbon nanotubes and genetically modified spider silk. New technologies will allow the elevator to reach speeds of 201 km/h and accommodate up to 30 passengers. The planned duration of the ascent is about 8 days.


The development of the British company Reaction Engines Limited - the Skylon spacecraft - will take off and land on a conventional runway and can be used as an aircraft, and in the upper atmosphere, after reaching supersonic speed, go into rocket mode for exit into near-earth orbit. This is made possible by the specially designed Saber air-jet engine, which uses the latest technology for pre-cooling oxygen from the intake air or its own tanks. It is expected that Skylon will allow 15-20 times to reduce the cost of "space" delivery of 12-15 tons of cargo to Earth orbit.

CleanSpace One

Numerous debris orbiting in space near Earth periodically destroys or damages other important objects. And its constantly increasing number forces scientists to develop new technologies to eliminate it. Specialists of the EPFL Institute (Switzerland) presented for this purpose the CleanSpace spacecraft with a size of 30x30x10 cm, designed for one-time use. Its first target should be the Swiss satellite Swisscube, launched into orbit in 2009. The janitor will lock onto its target and travel with it to the upper atmosphere, where both should burn up. The cost of the CleanSpace project is estimated at $ 11 million, and upon successful completion of the mission, it is planned to establish its serial production in order to maintain cleanliness in the near-earth space.

James Webb Space Telescope

In 2017, the NASA space agency received a high-tech space telescope that should help scientists search for manifestations of life in the vast expanses of the Universe. A device worth $ 8.8 billion, created using new technologies, will allow to explore many of the most distant planets in space, calculate their sizes and measure the content of water, carbon dioxide and other substances in the atmosphere. The main distinguishing feature of the James Webb telescope is its range. it is able to scan space at around 300 million years after the Big Bang, when the birth of visible light began.

EmDrive Fuel-Free Engine

Scientists from the DPRK managed to create a unique copy of the engine that works in violation of the laws of conservation of momentum. Outwardly, it looks like a bucket laid on its side, works by converting microwaves into traction, and is powered by solar energy. The principle of its operation contradicts all known laws of physics, therefore, some experts are inclined to believe that the experimental sample was built with an error and real samples will not work. But if everything is calculated correctly, then the use of the new EmDrive technology will allow launching devices for deep space exploration without liquid fuel and accelerating them to incredible speeds. For example, they will be able to reach the boundaries of the solar system within 1 year, rather than several decades.

Business in space: entrepreneurs talked about trends and the future of the industry The material used the abstracts from the meeting of the SV business school for teenagers. amp. About the experts: Leonid

The future of the space technology sphere promises to be so interesting that I would very much like to believe that we can all live at least to the beginning of the implementation of those ideas and missions that we will talk about today. Some of the concepts presented here seem like a completely logical step in the right direction, while others seem like completely insane and even suicidal ideas. However, both the first and the second have a real chance.

Startram Magnetic Space Train

The project of the proposed space launch system Startram, for the start of construction and implementation of which, according to preliminary standards, about $ 20 billion will be required, promises the possibility of delivering cargo weighing up to 300,000 tons into orbit with a very affordable price of $ 40 per kilogram of payload. Considering that at the moment the cost of delivering 1 kg of payload into space is at best $ 11,000, the project looks very interesting.

The Startram project will not require rockets, propellants or ion engines. Instead, it will use magnetic repulsion technology. It is worth noting that the concept of a magnetic levitation train is far from new. On Earth, trains are already functioning that move along the magnetic canvas at a speed of about 600 kilometers per hour. However, there is one major obstacle in the path of all these maglev (mostly used in Japan), which limits their maximum speed. In order for such trains to reach their full potential and reach their maximum possible speed, we need to get rid of the atmospheric influences that slow down their movement.

The Startram project offers a solution to this issue by building a long hinged vacuum tunnel at an altitude of about 20 kilometers. At this altitude, air resistance becomes less pronounced, which will allow space launches to be carried out at much higher speeds and with much less drag. Spacecraft will literally shoot into space, without the need to traverse the atmosphere. Building such a system will require about 20 years of work and investment totaling $ 60 billion.

Asteroid Catcher

Among science fiction lovers at one time there was a hot debate about the anti-scientific method and the obviously underestimated difficulty of landing on an asteroid, shown in the famous American science fiction thriller "Armageddon". Even NASA once noted that they would find a better (and more realistic) option to try to save the Earth from imminent destruction. Moreover, the aerospace agency recently awarded a grant to develop and build a "comet and asteroid catcher." The spacecraft with a special powerful harpoon will cling to the selected space object and, due to the power of its engines, pull these objects away from the dangerous trajectory of approaching the Earth.

In addition, the device can be used to catch asteroids with the aim of further mining on them. The space object will be attracted by the harpoon and retracted to the desired place, for example, to the orbit of Mars or the Moon, where the orbital or ground bases will be located. After that, loot groups will be sent to the asteroid.

Solar Probe

As on Earth, the Sun also has its own winds and storms. However, unlike earthly ones, solar winds can not only ruin your hairstyle, they can literally evaporate you. According to the NASA aerospace agency, many questions about the Sun, which are still not answered, can be answered by the "Solar Probe", which will go to our star in 2018.

The spacecraft will have to approach the Sun at a distance of about 6 million kilometers. This will lead to the fact that the probe will have to experience the effect of radiation energy of such power, which has not been experienced by any man-made spacecraft. According to engineers and scientists, a carbon-composite heat shield 12 centimeters thick will help protect the probe from the effects of harmful radiation.

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