Space Technologies Are Laying the Foundations for the Next Generation of Space Explorers
Space technology news is back in the headlines, in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Cold War. A number of different factors have contributed to the current boom in space technology stocks and, whether from private enterprises or government programmes, space technology is advancing at a remarkable rate. Lockheed Martin is not the only aerospace company London investors have their eyes on: private enterprises based around the world are making strides forward in space exploration. Events such as the Mars rover and discovery of water on the Moon, mean that space technology is once again a hot topic. And, while the progress currently being made may not yet be a game changer, it’s essential for laying the foundations for future progress. We’re going to look at some of the most impressive space technology currently finding diverse applications in the projects of tomorrow.
Algae Reactors Could Solve Two Problems at Once
One of the biggest problems in terms of space exploration is supplying food. A mission to Mars would need considerable supplies, and every single thing placed on a shuttle means that more energy needs to be expended getting to the target destination. However, a recent breakthrough promises to change space projects in the future. This latest piece of groundbreaking space technology NASA has investigated makes use of algae to provide astronauts with an efficient, renewable source of nutrition. The actual purpose of the photobioreactor is the generation of oxygen. The reactor uses the Chlorella vulgaris strain of algae, combined with sunlight, to convert onboard carbon dioxide back into oxygen. As a result, a significant amount of strain is taken off the planning need to send a craft into space. If the reactors prove successful, they could greatly reduce the need for advances from space technology designed to transport fresh oxygen for astronauts. On top of that, researchers believe that a sideproduct of the reactor could reduce the need for food on missions. The algae produces an edible nutritional product that could, potentially, form up to 30% of an astronaut’s diet. The algae food is high in protein, making it a valuable addition, or even replacement, for an astronaut’s diet. We await further news from the German Aerospace Centre.
Graphene Could Be the Wonder-Material of the Century
Graphene is a one-of-a-kind substance that has great potential in the world of space technology. Made out of carbon and shaped into honeycombs a single atom thick, it has proven remarkable thermal management potential, something essential for reliable space technology. Satellites require heat pipes that wick off excess heat, cooling the space technology and ensuring that it remains functional. In collaboration with the EU’s Graphene initiative, scientists are experimenting with graphene-coated wicks, used to improve cooling on satellites in orbit. The technology is still very much in its infancy, but many authorities view graphene as something of a wonder-substance and one of the prominent open space technologies. It’s got a huge range of potential applications, and researchers aim to expand it into the commercial market by 2023. With current zero-gravity tests finding promising evidence of graphene’s usefulness for thermal management, it seems likely that it will find a definitive place in the world of space technology.
Space Technology Could Be More Essential than We Realise
The current space technology boom is the product of a number of different factors. It’s undeniable that, as evidenced by entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, advances in space technology are once again cool. Investment in space technology provides a businessman with the kind of flash cultural cache that cannot be found in many other industries. However, the reality remains that space technology could become more and more important in the coming years. While the possibilities of off-planet colonies is as-yet unrealised, more progress in emergent space technologies is being made every year. Much of this is down to the state of the planet. While mankind has always had an insatiable appetite for finding out what lies over the next hill, our deteriorating environment is placing real pressure on scientists to find workable solutions for the human race. Space technology may not provide all the answers. However, it can at least lay the foundations for potential doors to be opened in the near future.
Space technology is just about as exciting as it has ever been. And it’s not operating in a vacuum. As we hit more and more milestones, sending out new probes, landing Mars rovers, and finally discovering water on the Moon, the potential of space is once again becoming known. Space technology is in the hands of governments and individuals around the world, working to find out just what we are capable of. And everything from algae photoreactors to graphene coatings are showing that, the more we develop, the more problems we are capable of solving.
Any thoughts or predictions on where this new space technology could lead us? Let us know in the comments section!