Future space technology may be predicted by taking a quick look
at the past, the present and the leading edge of current technologies.
One can then make prognostications for the years going forward.
Four main areas of future space technology are being perpetuated
and developed right now which include the space tourism industry,
scientists in space, general business in space and
the military in space.
Future Space Technology
Even though there are now some definitive lines among these industries,
in the future these lines will be blurred. For instance, right
now the International Space Station (ISS) is used mainly for scientific
experimentation, but a few space tourists have flown there and
inhabited ISS as well.
Future space technology will see to it that space hotels and
habitats will become not only part of the spacescape along
with satellites and debris that orbit the Earth but will
be part of colonization of the Moon and Mars and beyond.
Of course these hotels and habitats in space will be used
for not only tourists, but scientists, business people
and military personnel as well.
But in order to get a clearer picture of future space technology
let's take a look, one at a time, at space tourism, then scientists
in space, then general business in space and finally the military
in space. Space tourism is already taking place with multi-million
dollar trips to the ISS. Shortly, trips into Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
will begin and the Spaceport in New Mexico will be a major hub.
Space tourism will begin with trips into LEO with a few minutes
of zero gravity and some picture taking opportunities. But future
space technology will evolve quickly and with the aid of government
incentives, further X-prizes and private investments, tourists
will also soon arrive at the Moon.
Before this arrival, though, space
tourists will be treated to stays in space hotels and habitats
as previously mentioned. This will open up the doors for
further space flights or space adventures.
Space tourism companies are already thinking ahead at the possibilities
of space sports and other adventures. To name a few adventures
there will be private space walks, space "sky diving",
asteroid walking (more in the future), space photo tourism, Moon
rock climbing and space skiing on the Moon. Inside the space hotels
there will be racquetball, simulated swimming and full gym equipment.
Speaking of sports, the emerging field of "rocket racing"
at high altitudes will evolve into spaceplane racing in LEO and
beyond. These drag races and "NASCAR in space" type
of competitions will lead to further dollars spent in other space
Scientists and engineers have now been in space for decades.
Future space technology provided by these scientists, engineers
and researchers will fuel further advances in all areas of space
travel, exploration and exploitation (for good and not so good
Using current technology robotic rovers have already been deployed
into space. This will continue, advance and accelerate.
Unmanned spacecraft will continue to deploy cameras, telescopes
and other "eyes in the sky" at various strategic
locations for both scientific and military purposes.
Robonaut Right ...
Like today's robots, future robots
will start small in scale only to be scaled up over time.
These robots will work in teams to achieve various tasks
controlled first by those on the ground and then by those
is space laboratories orbiting the Earth, then on the
Moon, then Mars and beyond. Robonauts will assist astronauts
Robonaut2 at International Space Station
Robotics in space will grow exponentially paired up with future
computers including cloud computing and even more advanced
software and hardware interfaces. Cyborg technology already exists
with robotic arms, legs, eyes and other body parts.
This will also continue. Due to advances in future
medical technology cyborgs will be more commonplace as will
"super-humans" with more strength, endurance, lifespan
and resistance to disease plus quick reparations from other physical
and mental traumas. The rigors of space travel will be largely
counterbalanced by this future medical technology.
Future scientists will make inventive strides in the areas of
energy and fuel. At first hydrogen, solar and gravitation energy
will be used as they are now to propel vehicles into space and
In the not too distant future nuclear fusion will be used on
some spacecraft for propulsion. Space magnetism will also be used
to facilitate propulsion of some spacecraft. At let us not forget
the recently discovered Trinitramid molecule that will also come
into its own as rocket fuel.
Lasers will not only be used for telecommunications
but also for weaponry and to send energy from one location
For instance, future space technology dictates that vessels be
sent closer to the sun the gather energy and then beam this energy
around the solar system as needed via laser beams. This technology
has also been talked about in the nearer future at shorter distances
to beam energy back to Earth as a source of renewable and sustainable
Colonization of the Moon and Mars will not only be a boon for
space tourism companies but for Big Business on Earth as well.
Space infrastructure will need to be setup in order to move supplies
into space. Space cargo ships, energy stations and production
facilities will be a boon to businesses on Earth.
On the downside, in the near future, Big Business will increasingly
use space to skirt the rules, regulations and laws of
different countries on Earth. This will be resolved with
a patchwork of agreements and alliances between the U.
S. Russia, China, Japan, India and other future players
in the space marketplace.
Eye in the Sky ...
Moon cams, Mars cams and asteroid cams will not only be deployed
by scientists and the military but by Big Business as well. Joint
agreements among all three will be struck along with privacy and
security issues addressed.
As general businesses and people move into space there will naturally
be deaths. A whole industry will evolve concerning Moon
burials, body launches into space and even dead bodies
burning during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere (this
sounds a little jaded but it won't sound that way in the
years to come).
Military in Space
And where there is business in space there will also be the military
in space. Forget the Star Wars Program as this is old school.
Future space technology will help the military enforce arbitrary
boundaries beyond LEO along with loose agreements with countries
as is the norm today.
As different nations work both as a team to get into space, the
same nations will also work independently to dominate and control
space territories, raw materials and supplies. Space currency
will evolve and be tied into currency based on Earth.
Just as lasers and nuclear fusion will be used for communications,
transfer of energy and propulsion it will also be used
for military purposes. Star Trek and Star Wars once seen
as silly science fiction will have served as a template
for future warfare.
No Nukes in Space ...
Plasma cannons and other directed energy weapons plus energy
defense shields will be used by military spacecraft to engage
with each other and engage with geographic sites on Earth. But,
unlike dropping a nuclear bomb, the space weapons will be more
precise and hopefully more deterrent than punitive in nature.
While future space technology advances at lightning speed mankind
will still be bogged down by immature societal issues.
Bullying among nations and overly aggressive competition
will not have ceased unless there is an extraterrestrial
common enemy to combat, then cooperation will be at an
Fly Our Friendly Skies (on Mars)
These are simple prognostications based upon current
and emerging technologies in the space industry. I've
purposely left out discussion of avatars and teleportation
as while it is possible that these may some day come to
fruition, there still needs to be more disruptive technology
before one can see a clear path to these inventions in
Written by Kevin Lepton