What technologies does humanity need to create before we can start building permanently-spaceborne vessels that aren't just dumb orbiters and can host human crews?
I'm sure my layman viewpoint is painfully oversimplified, but I don't see any major impediments to doing such a thing today. If anything, it should be *simpler* since we don't have to worry about getting the thing off the ground or making it aerodynamic for landing on a planet's surface.
The bigger problem now I think is the infrastructure for building ships in orbit, but that's hardly insurmountable, now more than ever since we finally have commercial competition finding new ways to dramatically cut the cost of spaceflight in a frenzied race to the bottom. For a while we'll need to make trips back and forth with raw materials, but once we have rudimentary manufacturing capabilities beyond earth's atmosphere things can really begin to accelerate.
There are three issues that make your idea not feasible.
>whatever we send up only lasts so long (not 5yrs like star fleet)
>we can assemble in orbit like the spacestation and we can even automate this, but that is a lot of money and a lot of rockets
>a mars mission has been proposed with assembly in orbit with a possible mission cost closing in on a trillion dollars
Uhmm... I think there are bigger problems here on Earth.
>whatever we send up only lasts so long (not 5yrs like star fleet)
Sure, but that's because nothing we send up is self-sustaining because not even the ISS has enough space to do something like that.
And I bet that trillion figure can be cut in half if not more if we can make reusing rockets as routine and durable as reusing airplanes today. It could also be cut down further if we elect to instead start off with a moon base, sending up minimalist mining infrastructure and building the rest from materials mined from the moon.
I'm positive that there are creative ways to make the cost more reasonable if we actually tried doing some of this shit instead of sitting on our asses and making estimations based on the current cronyism-dominated space industry where half the costs fill pockets along the way.
Common retort, but it's a fallacy. Advancement of the space industry advances science here on earth too, including agricultural sciences.
Solve the issue of artificial gravity, for one.
As it is right now, you CAN take a rotating ring around a central point to use centrifugal force to create gravity, however the closer or father you move away from the center means that some of your body will weigh more than other parts and will seriously fuck up your senses.
You ever been on one of those fair rides that's just a round ride and you walk inside, all the walls are padded, and then it spins in a circle really fast and the walls lift up and you can do cool shit like turn sideways or upside down? Same concept but much slower.
Then you also need to solve the issue of a large ship traveling at high speeds running in to a fast moving object like a small meteor.
Then you need to figure out how to travel at high speeds safely and need to figure out how to grow enough food in space to sustain the crew alongside normal rations. And how to recycle water and oxygen.
I agree with every one of those points.
However, we've got to start somewhere. Our first ships probably won't have artificial gravity or forcefields or even fast travel, but it'll give us something to learn with and iterate on.
Planes didn't start out as jumbo jets, stealth fighters, and bombers, they started off as hilariously crude biplanes. Space ships are no different and if we wait until we can build the perfect ship we'll never build a ship.
>sending up minimalist mining infrastructure and building the rest from materials mined from the moo
Seems like you're forgetting that we, as humans, aren't allowed to mine anything in space.
Wasn't the 2015 SPACE Act meant to establish a legal basis just for that?
And if that wasn't enough, anyone with enough funds to get started on space mining can probably apply sufficient political pressure to make their actions legit anyways.
>building permanently-spaceborne vessels
I don't think that's on the horizon for awhile. The closest things we have in terms of the near future are the SLS/Orion from NASA and the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) from SpaceX.
Yes, the Orion is a capsule that connects to other modules (pic related), but that can technically be counted as a "spaceborne vessel," especially since it's targeting missions outside of Earth's orbit. It's just not permanent.
The details surrounding the MCT are still yet to be publicly announced, but signs point to it possibly being more like a Earth-constructed space liner than a capsule. It's specifically designed for long duration spaceflight, with multiple years in space, and it may even have high re-usability like the Falcon 9/Dragon v2. It's not a permanent "spaceborne vessel" either,
Why does a vessel have to permanently be in space though? Why can't they land on planets too? This may very well be the future of most types of spacecraft, even if they are intended for long distance travel. For spacecraft that are purely meant to 'only' be used in space, and are even constructed there, I imagine that we are at least a few decades away from this, if not longer.
>Why does a vessel have to permanently be in space though? Why can't they land on planets too?
Delta-V. You save ludicrous amounts of space, mass, and energy if you don't have to account for going into and out of planetary gravity wells like a lander. We would need reactionless drives capable of >10m/s^2 sustained acceleration and fusion based powerplants on ships to make it a non-issue, and even then you're still putting a lot of wear and tear on the ships. Better to use shuttles for that.
I think the question behind all this is not whether or not it's feasible but rather why do it at all? For what reason would you need to permanently host spaceborne crews outside of orbit? So they can float through empty space doing nothing until they die? So they can venture to empty planets and do nothing until they die?
Why don't we go to the moon anymore? I mean we did it decades ago so surely it must be feasible as fuck now. It's because it costs a shit ton of money and we have nothing to gain from it. At least before we got bragging rights.
>finally figure out a way to get rid of all the retards and poor people
>construct a brand new world for all the master races and non tards
>dindus find a way to make it up there and ruin everything
Space trash/debris like meteors and shit, the space is a tough place.
Heat. There are 3 ways heat exchange occur and in space, since there is no air, heat can only dissipate through radiation which is very slow which means any heavy machinery going on is going to cook itself pretty quick.
Constant need of fuel and energy. Even if engineers manage to reuse most of the suns energy, corrections in the vessels trajectories need some sort of fuel and mass loss to work. This is why the warpdrive meme of the last year was important, because it needed no fuel to create thrust. The faster than light was just retards memeing.
There are probably more but those are the most important and physically impossible to get around.
Artificial gravity would really only be needed in areas use for a couple of hours a day. To ensure the body continues to maintain bone mass they estimate that you only need to be in gravity a few hours a day, so you simply put the gym in the gravity section that spins, and there you go. Though I would suggest the cafeteria be there too, for logistical reasons.
"Shielding" can be done with "polarized plating". By running enough current through conduits on the hull plating of a vehicle you can create a magnetic field, you then super heat a noble gas to make plasma. You release the plasma across your hull and it will travel along the magnetic pathways you have created. Not only is the plasma hot enough to vaporize small debris, but it is dense enough to potentially protect you from "larger" objects.
Recycling water and oxygen are easy. Using waste separation methods you can use solid waste as fertilizer, and recover water from liquid waste. You can use CO2 scrubbers (used on SSN and other space craft), but you can also simply use plants in an aeroponic system. Between those two you shouldn't have a problem with CO2. Meat cannot be grown in this environment, so it needs to either be taken with you, or forgone.
Traveling at ~C, ± a few percent requires "warp drive". To get warp drive function requires very special devices and the approximate mass energy of a school bus. It's being worked on.
You don't want anything that is going to be in space for a long time going between planets and space. Unnecessary wear and tear and the requirements for Delta V as >>52539653 said.
To truly be able to be a space fairing race we need to begin mining asteroids and colonizing other planets. For this we need to stop giving dindus and other leaches resources that we could be using to push our horizons. We (here in the U.S. spend billions on welfare and a broken system of defense spending (carriers dump millions of dollars worth of goods into the ocean so they can refuel/resurface the flight deck/repair xyz when needed because if they don't spend the money every year they lose it). If we fixed the way we budgeted money in government we could spend way more on space, and reap the benefits here too.
Lastly, there are those talking about the moon. We need to go back, it would function as a test bed for Mars, and a useful storage depot, shipyard and staging post. Not just that, but if we can get fusion working, the helium 3 there could be put to use.
All we need is fucking space elevators and there are already plans and carbon nanotubes.
The biggest problem is keeping sandniggers and shit from crashing things into said space elevators.
With space elevators we can start having huge space stations, space docks and big space infrastructure, with big space infrastructure comes big ass ships and asteroid mining which brings in the cash for expansion.
Fucking sand niggers and shit ruining everything.
Anti gravity engine(so that we can leave earth gravity easily), better shielding (for space radiation),
I imagine fusion because them gravity engines will need alot of juice.
If not that then atleast a way to leave earth gravity well cheaply and fast, maybe a space lift (but it would probably require inventing having carbon nanotubes production first)
the main problem is that everything that there is in space for us to find is easier and cheaper to find here on earth by several orders of magnitude. The only exception being scientific knowledge. Thing is you don't need to bring the people along to space to get that, unmanned probes do it not only just as well but better (if you don't need life support and living space, that's payload that can be more instruments, fuel, what have you)
the fundamental problem with human spaceflight is that there isn't a good reason to do it.
proprietary software is holding everyone back.
It forces people do develop their own solution, and a lot of people make theirs proprietary just to spite everyone for making them do unnecessary work.
It isn't a technology issue so much as an economic issue. We spend all our money on Obamaphones, so there isn't much left for a space program.