Reaching a new space world has been the primary goal of most space agencies. However, several limitations are making Scientists think otherwise about landing a manned spaceship on another celestial body in deep space. After sending humans to the moon in the 20th century, our manned space missions have been limited only to low earth orbit.
But NASA scientists researched and developed a model that predicts when humans will land on the asteroid, Jupiter, and Saturn. What data did these scientists use to conduct the study? How did they come up with these predictions? Are we technologically advanced to attain this milestone? This article holds the answer to these questions.
How Scientists Began to Develop the Model That predicts manned Mission to Deep Space
Based on our current technologies, landing manned spaceships on asteroids and Jupiter appears technically impossible. But we are certain about reaching this milestone in the future. A team of rocket engineers led by Jonathan Jiang, participated in research findings to determine the future of humans in deep space.
Jiang, who is the group supervisor and the principal scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena was so determined to come up with great outcomes from the study. The primary goal why Jiang and his colleagues participated in this study is to determine the time frame within which humans will reach the asteroid belt, then proceed to Jupiter, before visiting Saturn.
After their research was concluded, they published their discoveries which they titled Impact of Economic Constraints on the Projected Timeframe for Human Crewed Deep Space Exploration. In this publication, the scientists described the economic analysis of how space financing has increased recently.
They also described the technological progress made by humans since we began the space race in the 20th century. Based on their analysis, they concluded that the first humans may land on Asteroids in 2073 and Jupiter in 2103, provided we made it to Mars in 2038.
This implies that humans alive today may likely witness these historic deep space missions in their lifetime. But how do these scientists come up with these predictions? Jiang and his colleagues began their studies by analyzing the economic factors before technological progress.
Economic Factors as analyzed By Jiang and his team
Jiang and his colleagues began their research of NASA’s budget for space missions starting in 1958 when the space agency was established. During the study, they discovered several peaks, which occurred due to increased expenses to cover each space mission. However, there are three major peaks in this curve. The first peak took place in 1966 during the Apollo space program.
The increasing competition between NASA and the Soviet Union inspired the space agency to make great budgeting for its Apollo space missions. In fact, this budget funded the first manned mission to the moon in 1969. So NASA actually utilized the budget carefully. The second peak occurred in 1991 when NASA chose to partner with a private sector to build a replacement for its space shuttle.
This decision was made by Bush Senior in 1989, and he later signed an agreement with Russia to collaborate on developing the International Space Station in 1991. The third peak occurred in 2018 when the U.S. government released a report detailing the budget for the Artemis space program. Keep in mind that NASA intended to return humans to the moon and also commenced the manned missions to Mars in this Artemis program.
So it is actually an important mission for NASA. Based on these economic factors, Jiang and his team concluded that we will likely send humans to Mars and the asteroid belt before the end of this century. The journey beyond the asteroid belt may likely come up in the next century.
Jiang and his team knew that if we could attain such a milestone in sending humans beyond low earth orbit, our technological progress would need to be highly considered. Hence, the team of Scientists also determined the advancement of space technologies since we began space exploration.
Jiang and his team revealed that the success of deep space missions highly depends on the sophistication of spaceship designs, life support systems, hardware complexity, and their overall mode of operations. So they determined the timeframe for future space missions to deep space by using several scientific publications made by other Scientists in the past.
They used these past publications to figure out the Technological improvement over the years. From their studies, they came to realize that overall improvement has experienced steady significant linear growth. Jiang and his colleagues also used the effective radius of manned missions to space to determine our Technological improvement over the years.
They combined the human activities in Earth orbit and also added it to the success of manned missions to the lunar services. Jiang and co also used the distance traveled by humans in space to finalize their predictions. Hence, Jiang and co estimated the effective radius of human activities in space to be at 0.0026 Astronomical Units.
As NASA projects to send humans to Mars on its Artemis space program in about 2038, the radius of human activity in space will likely increase to 0.3763 Astronomical Units.
Jiang and his team used the outcome of these findings to generate a model that best describes future human activities in deep space. This model proposed that humans will visit the asteroid in 2073, Jupiter and its moons in 2103, and Saturn in 2132.
The visit to other celestial bodies will surely happen sooner than we even expect. However, these future missions to deep space highly depend on numerous factors. We must figure out how to keep and sustain humans on Mars before thinking of traveling beyond Mars.
Jiang and co understand the complexity of deep space. This is why they designed a model that predicts our journey beyond Mars in the next 50 years. The good news is that some of us may be alive to witness this historic manned mission to deep space. Let’s wish space agencies the best as they prepare for the journey beyond low earth orbit. Do you think that these predictions will ever come to pass?