Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting into Space

Rockets are how mankind has always traveled in space. However, they are also expensive. A rocket's energy equivalent is around 20% of that of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. The rocket that sent the astronauts to the moon cost $500 million dollars to launch. NASA has determined that the space shuttle needs to be retired and is working on other ways to take man into space.

So how will we get into space in the future?

One possible way is by giving the shuttles a little boost. For example, flying them up to a certain height where they can fire off their rockets and take off into space. The problem with this idea is that, to do so, the shuttle would have to be light. And, with the fuel required to get into space, the shuttles are not light.

In Jules Verne's book, From the Earth to the Moon, the space vehicle is fired from a gun barrel three football fields long. Canadian scientist Gerald Bull tested this theory and shot a 16 inch projectile into space. It is possible that, in his later career as a weapons designer, he was working on creating a much larger version of this that could shoot objects into orbit. He was thought to be building this weapon for Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government, however, and was assassinated.

With the technologies being developed, who knows where we might go next?

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