Is it time to change the way we go to Space

Is it time to change the way we go to Space

The phone we are holding today is a masterpiece of technology. This masterpiece has more power than the computer used to send man on moon for the first time. 64 kb of code was written to send man on moon for the first time, while we have 8 gb of mere RAM today in our phones.

  • Posted on 13-Aug-2022 , by Administrator

This piece of tech has evolved through several stages for several years to become even more slim and powerful then ever before. In fact, Moore’s law predicts that the number of transistor doubles and the size of the chip halves every year. But what has not evolved all these years is the way we send people to the space. We use the same old technology of burning fuel to send people or things into space. This method has been good but good amount of fuel is not forever. This fuel is expensive and there is no need to talk about the pollution that it causes.

One efficient way and dream of all sci fi authors and enthusiasts is a space elevator. A space elevator is a normal elevator just hanging in space. Not only the distance but toughness, durability, safety, precise calculations, and human error are some of the difficulties faced for an elevator. Carbon nanotechnology provides the solution for a tough and durable material. Materials exist where the graphene is looped to make a pipe to form a strong material. So basically, this material is going to be 1 molecule! But for all this to work we need to find a perfect orbit where this elevator won’t collapse due to the spin of the earth. That orbit is an orbit where the centripetal and the gravitational forces of the earth and the elevator balance each other out. That orbit is around 36000 km above the equator.

Hanging a space elevator with these many precautions is yet not safe enough. What is this elevator collapses due to some error? The loss is not just the elevator, but the rope will wrap around the earth making an apocalypse scene. A safer and better way is to first test it out and try to build one on Mars or the Moon. This will also help us to terraform them as well. On the ribbon or the rope of the elevator solar panels can be fixed. This solar panels will provide us with the energy for the up and down of the elevator. As there is not atmosphere to filter out the rays of the sun solar panels are way more efficient in the space than on earth. So, the extra energy produced due to these panels can also be sent on earth for other uses. 

Another method can be hanging a rope instead of the elevator in the space. The centripetal acceleration produced due to Earth’s spin and gravity can be used to send the spaceships in the space. They can be launched with twice the centripetal force. A hook just like one on fishhook will be hanging from the space on a geostationary orbit rotating with some force. This hook will take the spaceship from earth and throw it to space with acceleration. This thrown spaceship can use this energy to reach its destination and even if this energy is not enough to reach the destination, then solar panels can again be used here. But in hooking the rocket the skyhook will lose some of its momentum which can eventually leading it to collapse from its orbit and fall on earth. This momentum can be regained by bringing in the satellites from the space back into earth orbit. So, it will maintain its orbit. This way simple or even efficient electrical engines can be used to send things and people in space for cheap. Perfect and strong material for space tough conditions already exist such as zylon which is a synthetic polymer of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen.

If we can make a skyhook to launch us in space instead of heavy bulky rockets, then we will be able to space a massive amount of energy. We can use this energy for various other productive things on earth. If we are successful in making a skyhook network in the solar system, then travelling between planets would be just like travelling between countries- yes in terms of price as well! In all the methods we are just cheating the universe to transform the energy in the direction we want.

The most powerful, sustainable rocket with most advance technology Falcon 9 a rocket which can be reused uses 124 tons of fuel just to reach the escape velocity of earth that Is the velocity required to escape the gravitational effect of earth. This shows how inefficient rocket technology is. We surely do need to make bold step of revolutionizing the way we go to space. With the increasing popularity of space tourism conserving resources and efficient transportation to space has become the need of the hour. Using these technologies, we are closer to become a type 1 civilization – a civilization which can use of all the energy available in the solar system. Sustainable development is the peace policy of the future and with that we have no reason to say no to it! 

- Ansh Rajpal | Grade 11