Updated: June 1, 2022 11:11:10 am
It is possible that you may witness human astronauts landing on the moon within your lifetime, according to a recently authored research article. The researchers analysed how NASA’s budget has changed over the years since the 1960s to gauge how likely it is that the space agency will deploy a mission to Asteroids beyond Mars in the next century.
The non-peer-reviewed paper titled, “Impact of Economic Constraints on the Projected Timeframe for Human-Crewed Deep Space Exploration,” is available on ArXiv. Co-authors include researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Radboud University, and Beijing Normal University.
While analysing how NASA’s budget has changed since its inception in 1958, the researchers noticed many spikes in the amount of money that the space agency burned over the years. These spikes corresponded with the key events of the space age, including the early years of the Apollo program in 1966 and the announcement of man’s impending return to the Moon with the Artemis project in 2018.
The researchers propose that a spacefaring nation or a group of spacefaring nations will send a mission to the asteroid belt beyond Mars between 2071 and 2087. They also predict that a mission to the Jovian System, which includes Jupiter, its rings and moons, will happen between 2087 and 2101. A launch to the Saturn system is predicted to happen in the window between 2129 and 2153.
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For arriving at these numbers, didn’t just use NASA’s budget numbers. They also analysed the evolution of technology capabilities related to deep space exploration over the years. The exploration of deep space required a variety of technological capabilities such as computing power, and the design, manufacturing and operation of hardware such as launch vehicles, guidance systems and life support systems
Since it is difficult to quantitatively ascertain the evolution of such technologies, they analysed the number of published peer-reviewed technology articles about deep space exploration over the years. This number showed a clear upwards trend which allowed the scientists to create a model with both the technology evolution data and the budget data; allowing them to arrive at their conclusions.
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