The present of Space Travel
It’s 2022, and the concept of space travel is merely a fantasy. Yes, the current way to travel from Earth to Mars is a 16-day journey in cramped spaces, available only for robots; but those days are about to end.
Elon Musk is really generous about Mars Colonization. But he will soon realize that his childish fantasy is unnecessary. Mars will be one of the most important tourist destinations, and people will go there by their own free will.
SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Gwynne Shotwell said a crewed mission to Mars could happen before the end of the 2020s. Will SpaceX make space vacations possible? Ask Elon! Will we make it to space in the near future? Only time knows!
We will soon start thinking of having ‘space holidays’ – Mars, Moon, or maybe Europa? But for those thoughts, too, we need a fundamental. We need a fundamental silver lining, based on which we can rest our thoughts and dreams.
What will make space travel possible?
Space travel will not be something like another upgrade, another version of the iPhone. It will be a revolution, something even bigger than our upgrades from horse to cars. But that’s not all. It’s almost certain that the first space tourist starts coming back to Earth after his/her stay in space.
Imagine, a person will travel to Mars for a long-term stay, then come back home, and wait for another opportunity to go there again. And it will be possible because of the revolution of space travel! But what revolution, exactly?
The revolution will be the presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), or, more precisely, a super-intelligent machine. AI will be the reason for space travel (and space colonization) to be possible.
AI will do all the tedious stuff for us, like designing the spacecraft, fighting the gravity from Earth to outer space and back; it will build our new home on Mars; and it will keep us ‘healthy’ during our long journey.
The laws of physics may or may not apply for AI – AI will age slower if at all, and it will be extremely intelligent. In fact, one day it may become more intelligent than its creators. But that is a long-term vision, which will have to wait for the advent of AI.
Why in the near future?
Space travel, a form of it, is already possible! But I would call it a ‘theoretical’ way, unless humans themselves start going to outer space for a tour. If colonization starts, it will inevitably lead to space tourism. But why in the near future?
More and more scientists are thinking of going to Mars, and Elon Musk is out there already thinking of colonizing Mars. The first human set foot on the Moon in 1969 because of a singular vision of President Kennedy – “before this decade is out, we shall land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth.”
After that goal was achieved, there would remain no such goal again that could motivate the whole generation.
AI is again a big player here. It already helps in satellite data processing, analyzing cosmic occurrences, and most importantly, making self-driving cars possible. As AI becomes stronger and stronger, it will be able to guide us through space, or colonies on Mars or Moon.
And there is a fundamental difference between ‘man’ and ‘machine’ – the latter is programmable (it’s a form of intelligence). Once it learns how to do a task, it does that task very efficiently. The mechanical parts of robots are not as efficient as human muscles and nerves; but if we can programmatically make machines do what we want, then machines could far outperform humans doing similar tasks.
FOR AN EXAMPLE: DALL E 2 AND GPT-3
AIs are promising. DALL E 2 can create images of two astronauts playing tennis on the Moon surface. Check out the image! Just look at the rate of our technological progress. The progress is not adding up, but compounding. Therefore, it would not be wrong to use the term ‘near future’ with the possibilities of space travel.
Will space travel be available for the middle class?
The question is funny. As mentioned a bit earlier, space travel would be considered space travel, only if ‘normal’ people would become able to travel there as vacation. The first people will be people in the top-class. Slowly but surely, it will turn out less of a ‘pay visit to space’ and more of a ‘ trip to space’.
Anyways, why fear about the word ‘class’? Artificial Intelligence is going to cause singularity. If you are reading this article, singularity is not so bad for you in particular. Space will be available for all – no class, sex, race and face.
How space travel is going to reshape the word ‘travel’
In the next few years, we could start seeing space travel being used as a metaphor for something more important than another vacation – business trips, conferences or even medical missions can involve flying in space. It will start becoming more common to ‘take a trip to space’ instead of getting on a plane. We could call it ‘space travel’, and after a few years, we’ll call it ‘space tourism’.
At the present, 2022, we call the world narrowing down. It will not take long until people start calling it already ‘middle-class’ space travel, and ‘Space Tourism’.
But at the same time, we need a different word for space tourism. The word ‘travel’ has so many other meanings to it. We say, ‘let’s go on vacation’, but we go to some place that is not called a vacation spot – but then again, we haven’t been able to go there.
Instead of going to the airport and getting on a plane after a long wait and messing up with security checks, people can easily get off the plane leaving the airport and going straight to their destination – the destination could be Mars or Moon.
IS AI A KEY PART OF IT?
AI is the most important part of the futuristic concept of space travel. Humans are limited, bound, by the laws of nature. We cannot breathe in space without air suits. We cannot feel the gravity or spin in space without artificial gravity. And we cannot understand the darkness of space and elements of space without putting on a special suit with other support systems, systems built by AI and by our own scientists.
People cannot go to space unless AI is present. It will be hard to convert people into space travelers as they are now used to travel as a way of life. The experience will be hard to get rid off.
But the presence of AI will put an end to all this. We will not have to go on a plane or train for a long distance. All systems of travel will be taken over by AI, and it would take us from here to there in the most efficient and safe way possible. No wonder it will make space travel very affordable in the future! And that is why I believe that space travel’s future looks very bright!
Oh, you guessed it right. The space-traveler AI we’re talking about is not a physical robot. It will be installed in you. You will become AI, not the other way around.