Synthesis Essay about Space

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One of the many questions you might ask yourself is their life out into space. Well, how would we know if we cannot get there in the first place? Space travel has become a worldwide phenomenon that piques the interest of what lies beyond our galaxy. We shall be discussing whether space travel is possible beyond our current limit which will soon be Mars and the possible ideas aeronautical engineers, multi-millionaires, and NASA1 have planned for the future.

One of the many brilliant plans would be the SpaceX2 program. Founded by one of the greatest engineers and entrepreneurs Elon Reeves Musk3 in 2002 he created the program with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable colonization of Mars. He thought that creating a way to be able to colonize Mars to allow space in the world and hence reduce the population on Earth and the demand for food would bring a balance in space and food shortage for the overpopulation. SpaceX over 17 years has developed multiple spacecraft including the Falcon and Dragon models. Not only have they created these two successful models but they also designed the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit the Falcon 14 in 2008. Not only have they achieved that but they also were the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft the Dragon5 in 2010, the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station the Dragon in 2012. In September 2016, CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Interplanetary Transport System6, a privately funded initiative to develop spaceflight technology for use in crewed interplanetary spaceflight. In 2017, Musk unveiled an updated configuration of the system, now named Starship and Super Heavy7, which is planned to be fully reusable and will be the largest rocket ever on its debut, currently scheduled for the early 2020s. SpaceX currently manufactures three types of rocket engines in-house: the kerosene-fueled Merlin engines, the methane-fueled full-flow staged combustion Raptor8 engines, and the hypergolic fueled Draco9 or SuperDraco10 vernier thrusters. With all of these advancements, they will soon be able to colonize Mars as technological advances in the aeronautical industry.

Well if we are to start off about the future of technology in spacecraft we might as well look over the huge advancements we have made in the past. The space race11 piqued the interest of all who were wondering what was beyond our planet. It all started on August 2nd, 1955 when the soviet union responded to the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year and declared they will launch it in the near future. The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union or USSR and the United States or the US, to achieve firsts in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II. The technological advantage required to rapidly achieve spaceflight milestones was seen as necessary for national security, and mixed with the symbolism and ideology of the time. The Space Race led to pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, uncrewed space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon. However, the competition or race peaked the most on July 20th, 1969 with probably the biggest US achievement with the first humans on the moon with Apollo 1112. Most US sources claim that the Apollo 11 lunar landing as a singular achievement outweighs any achievement the Soviets achieved. The USSR attempted several crewed lunar missions but eventually canceled them to focus on an Earth orbital space station while the US landed on the moon several times.

After the success of the lunar landing, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA was formed preceding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA13. Since it was established most of the U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the space shuttle. NASA is also supporting the funds for the International Space Station14 and is currently overseeing their latest project in development the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle15, the Space Launch System16, and Commercial Crew Vehicle17. NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the SMDHR Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research. One of the most famous astronauts that NASA that hired was Neil Alden Armstrong18 born August 5th, 1930, and died August 25th, 2012. Renowned for being the first person to walk on the moon and also he was an aeronautical engineer. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor. He graduated from Purdue University and studied aeronautical engineering. His university fees were paid by the U.S. Navy under a holloway plan. One of his most famous phrases known worldwide watched and heard by 600 million people, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” during the eagle's landing on July 1969.

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One of the possible innovations of space travel recent would be the LightSail19 a project to demonstrate controlled solar sailing20 within low Earth orbit using a CubeSat21. The project was developed by The Planetary Society22, a global non-profit organization devoted to space exploration. The spacecraft consists of two spacecraft the LightSail 1 and LightSail 2. The LightSail 1 was an engineering demonstration mission that was designed to test its new deployment method into space, however, unfortunately, the development was not able to perform the purpose of the sail, which was a sail using solar energy from the sun to travel through space. However, the invention of LightSail 2, which is a fully functional spacecraft, intended to demonstrate the true purpose of solar sailing through space and incorporates the lessons learned from the invention of LightSail 1. The LightSail project is a follow-up project to Cosmos 123 a solar sail spacecraft designed by the Planetary Society in the early 2000s which was destroyed during a launch failure in 2005. The scale of the LightSail spacecraft measures 10 cm x 10 cm x 30 cm in their stowed configuration. After the sail deployment, the total area of each spacecraft is 32 square meters which shows the fragility of the sail and the amount of care the scientist and engineer have to be delicate. But you might be wondering, how does it work? Like a solar sail, the LightSail’s propulsion relies on solar radiation and not the charged particles of the solar wind. Next, the solar photons exert radiation pressure on the sail, which produces an acceleration on the spacecraft relative to the ratio of the sail's area to its mass. As such, the design challenge was to maximize the surface area of the sail while minimizing the mass of the spacecraft—all while adhering to the standard 3-unit CubeSat size limitation.

However, there are some ethical issues with space travel, things to consider would be the amount of money spent, pollution, and noise pollution With two space shuttle launches per year, on average, that amounts to roughly 5 tons of carbon dioxide per month, your average car generates about half a ton per month which ultimately means they pollute 10 times as much as your cars do. Although this might seem minute as there are only two shuttles sent to space each year there is also a consideration of the satellites and other forms of spacecraft that are sent into space. However, we still cannot ignore the additional pollution that spacecraft is an influencer of climate change and global warming. Another disadvantage of the possibility of space travel would be the amount of money it costs to produce these space vessels that would and are sending people to space. The Apollo 11 mission cost the US $20 billion which would have been $100 billion dollars with inflations as well. The amount of money spent on that was equivalent to 1% of the money in the world right now for just one major mission which is around $10.5 trillion dollars in the world currently. Even though it might not seem a lot it would have put tax rates higher as the government funded the project and would have asked for it back via the people’s taxes.

Another ethical issue would be the Wait Calculation24. Consider this, the earth decides to send out a space vessel for a crew that is travelling at the fastest speed of 250,000 km/h we have achieved with the helios-225 probe. But say we have found a way to implement this to create ships for people to look for life to Proxima Centauri26 which would take 19,000 at the speed. But during those 19,000 years, the team was away we found out a faster way of space travel and they then sent out a team that would achieve the destination in a shorter time. It would have been unethical to send the first team of scouts as they would have had to wait longer and their arrival to the planet already had life inhabited by humans. The Wait Calculation proposes when is the optimal time for humanity to send colonists out to a star. The concept was first written about by Andrew Kennedy24 in a paper written in 2006. Kennedy assumed that there had to be a minimal travel time anywhere in the universe. This meant once our technology was close to safely achieving it, we could safely send colonists and avoid the risk of leaving too early for nothing. But deciding when the best time to leave is pretty complicated, think about the voluntary space traveler having to wait 19,000 years and finding out once you have arrived at the planet that is best suited for life that humans have already inhabited it as there were a faster means of space travel during those 19,000 years.

However, if it is a matter of colonizing a planet habitable by humans then a warp field27 might be needed. Spacetime metric engineering is a requirement for physically recreating solutions of general relativity such as Einstein–Rosen bridges28 or the Alcubierre drive29. Current experiments focus on the Alcubierre metric30 and its modifications. Alcubierre's work from 1994 implies that even if the required exotic matter with negative energy densities can be created, the total mass-energy demand for his proposed warp drive would exceed anything that could be realistically attained by human technology. Other researchers aimed to improve energy efficiency, but the propositions remain mostly speculative. Research groups at NASA's Johnson Space Center31 and Dakota State University32 currently aim to experimentally evaluate several new approaches, especially a redesigned energy-density topology as well as an implication of brane cosmology theory. If space actually were to be embedded in higher dimensions, the energy requirements could be decreased dramatically and a comparatively small energy density could already lead to a spacetime curvature measurable using an interferometer. The theoretical framework for the experiments dates back to work by Harold G. White33 from 2003 as well as work by White and Eric W. Davis34 from 2006 that was published in the AIP, where they also consider how baryonic matter35 could, at least mathematically, adopt characteristics of dark energy. In the process, they described how a toroidal positive energy density may result in a spherical negative-pressure region, possibly eliminating the need for actual exotic matter.

Overall I believe that space travel will become essential for the survival of the human race as we are one species living off one body so eventually whether it is due to a race-threatening event that could wipe all life or overpopulation and climate change that could lead to our downfall it will be essential to begin life anew.

References:

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA / https://www.nasa.gov/
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_1
    5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Dragon
    6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Mars_transportation_infrastructure
    7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BFR_(rocket)
    8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raptor_(rocket_engine_family)
    9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_(rocket_engine_family)
    10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperDraco
    11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Race
    12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11
    13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Advisory_Committee_for_Aeronautics
    14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station
    15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(spacecraft)
    16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System
    17. https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html
    18. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong
    19. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LightSail
    20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail
    21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CubeSat
    22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Planetary_Society
    23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos_1
    24. http://www.jbis.org.uk/paper.php?p=2006.59.239
    25. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_(spacecraft)
    26. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxima_Centauri
    27. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warp-field_experiments
    28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein-Rosen_Bridge_(EP)
    29. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
    30. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
    31. https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/home/index.html
    32. https://dsu.edu/
    33. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_G._White
    34. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eric_Davis6
    35. http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/B/Baryonic+Matter
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Synthesis Essay about Space. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/synthesis-essay-about-space/
“Synthesis Essay about Space.” Edubirdie, 30 Jan. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/synthesis-essay-about-space/
Synthesis Essay about Space. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/synthesis-essay-about-space/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Synthesis Essay about Space [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Jan 30 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/synthesis-essay-about-space/
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