HomeInsights & AdviceTo infinity and beyond: SpaceX announce plans for first ever civilian flight crew

To infinity and beyond: SpaceX announce plans for first ever civilian flight crew

by John Saunders
8th Apr 21 3:32 pm

There is no doubt that Elon Musk is living out every small child’s fantasy by aiming to create transportation to help colonise Mars. Some suggest this sounds crazy and a concept that is totally out of this world literally, and beyond our wildest imaginations. However, the team at SpaceX has grown leaps and bounds over time to help make these dreams and ambitions come within reach.

Although ambitious, SpaceX has achieved several firsts, including releasing the first privately funded liquid propelled rocket to reach orbit, the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft, and the first company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. There is no wonder why they always have eyes on them, with many firsts under their belt.

Unfortunately, not all attempts have been successful. SpaceX’s second full test flight of its bullet-shaped starship ended in a fiery descent and crash at the beginning of the year.

SpaceX has announced once they have mastered the landing of their bullet-shaped Starships, they aim to fund a multimillion trip to space. They hope it will be the first-ever orbital flight crewed entirely by non- astronauts onboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

The spacecraft is thought to make a multi-day trip into the Earth’s orbit in late-2021. There have been four additional seats that have been placed aboard the mission. The seats will be donated to an ambassador of the St. Jude Children’sChildren’s Research Hospital and a lucky member of the public who enters to join the once-in-a-lifetime trip.

These figures create an interesting insight into the numbers of people who would mainly go for the opportunity to not only go into space but who would actually take it one step further and become residents of Mars once Elon Musk reaches his goal.

Because going to space as a non-astronauts might be closer than we think, the thought alone reflects genuine efforts of how far we have come in the advancements of technology. Moving forward, it may be time to consider technologies that we can use on Mars to live and communicate, making it an extension of our very own planet earth.

Many believe that colonisation of Mars will in fact help fight climate change. If half the population were simply moved to another planet which was able to host a suitable way of living for humans, that would immediately cut the amount of greenhouse gases in half. Instead of taking flights across the world, we could be taking flights to Mars as a new holiday destination. Regardless of whether this sounds exciting or not, the fact that we are closer to the ideology today than 50 years ago speaks volumes for how far technology has come.

SpaceX has said it will be open to selling tickets to the public for seats on its Crew Dragon capsule. The capsule entered operation last year and is primarily intended for use by NASA to shuttle its astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Typically, NASA has owned all previous spaceflight vehicles. However, they allowed SpaceX to retain ownership of the Commercial Crew flights to help encourage non-astronauts to come on board, hoping to drum up interest in space-based research and tourism for the wider population.

Space travel and smartphones

Space travel technology seems so far beyond any of the technology we use today. However, many do not know that NASA designed the smartphone cameras that we use and love today.

In 1992, Eric Fossum invented the active pixel sensor. The sensor was small and much more power-efficient, enabling machines to interact with their surroundings like never before. NASA happily stumbled upon the idea while they were trying to miniaturize cameras for interplanetary space travel.

They did not choose to consider smartphones when they first came up with the sensor and were more focused on web cameras. After a host of ways the technology could be adapted, they soon found they could implant the technology into smartphones, and so the smartphone camera was born. Today’s smartphone cameras have advanced substantially considering the new Samsung Galaxy S21 which houses a 10 x zoom and 108 megapixel camera, according to Smartphone Checker.

Would you like to go to space?

Considering how close space exploration is to being available to the general public, it would be interesting to know if there is even a demand for it? Many have dreams of going to space, but it does put some off with the dangers involved. The graph below shows levels of interests and the stark difference between males and females.

Source: YouGov

These figures create an interesting insight into the numbers of people who would mainly go for the opportunity to not only go into space but who would actually take it one step further and become residents of Mars once Elon Musk reaches his goal.

Because going to space as a non-astronauts might be closer than we think, the thought alone reflects genuine efforts of how far we have come in the advancements of technology. Moving forward, it may be time to consider technologies that we can use on Mars to live and communicate, making it an extension of our very own planet earth.

Many believe that colonisation of Mars will in fact help fight climate change. If half the population were simply moved to another planet which was able to host a suitable way of living for humans, that would immediately cut the amount of greenhouse gases in half. Instead of taking flights across the world, we could be taking flights to Mars as a new holiday destination. Regardless of whether this sounds exciting or not, the fact that we are closer to the ideology today than 50 years ago speaks volumes for how far technology has come.

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