Published in Quest Magazine 1999
All Photos Original To The Article
In the past one hundred years, which is the entirety of the twentieth century, our world has experienced more advances in science and technology than in the total history of mankind.
Whereas the 1800’s hosted only a handful of scientific inventions, such as the steam engine, the train, the electric light, and the telephone, the 1900’s was an explosion of technology the like of which only past futurists could dream of. This century has seen quantum leaps in communication, transportation, aeronautics, medicine, agriculture, architecture, warfare, and energy. Inventions, prior to 1900, had generations of time between those inventions for people to adjust to them and learn how to integrate them into their lives Today, our techno-world reinvents itself every few years with very little time for people to embrace one set of technology before it becomes obsolete.
As is the case with many of our more innovative, life altering, and useful inventions, the concept of future travel first began in the imagination of creative and pioneering visionaries. The history of mankind is the history of exploration, so it is no surprise that we have evolved from a primitive migrating people to space explorers. When the Wright brothers flew their flying machine in 1903, they accelerated every other recognized advance in aviation. But unknown to most of the world, ventures into the world of flight did not begin with the Wright brothers. Pioneers like John Stringfellow flew a wired fixed wing craft in 1848. Many different types of unmanned flying models were flown, leading up to an event in 1896, when Professor S.P. Langely’s steam powered unmanned monoplane flew three quarters of a mile. All of these self motivated, independent inventors prepared the way for the future of aeronautics.
In 1903 the Wright brothers flew forty yards and stayed in the air for twelve seconds. In 1969, astronauts were walking on the moon. By 1999, we had taken a spin on the surface of Mars and were building an Earth orbiting international space station. But just who is responsible for the development of space exploration and the future of travel? In today’s world, advances in aviation and space flight are fueled by both private industry, individual entrepreneurs, and the military complex. With the advent of the Star Wars program, communications satellites, space shuttles, and space stations there is only one industry who has yet to effectively enter space – the airline industry. But since more people travel by plane than any other form of transportation, and taking into account the acceleration of space related technology, rest assured that space tourism is only a nanosecond away. Along with the spacecraft needed for transportation, future space travel will also require a transplantation of the trappings of civilization: habitats, food and water, laws, law enforcers, health issues, and more. A great deal of wisdom must go into mankind’s space ventures so that we do not bring the darker parts of our society to untainted worlds.
Passenger space travel and space tourism is destined to become the largest and most economically important activity in space. Currently, no government owned space agency has publicly devoted major time or money to the concept of space tourism. However, the FAA has begun to study the licensing of private craft re-entering the atmosphere from space, and the feasible extension of air traffic management as these craft come into low Earth orbit. There are also a handful of private supporters who have launched awareness campaigns and spacecraft engineering contests to keep the original pioneering spirit of aviation exploration alive. One such contest is called the ‘X Prize’ which is sponsored by a private group of trustees headed by Peter Diamandis. According to him, this contest is modeled after similar aviation contests sponsored in the earlier part of the century. The ‘X Prize’ is in search of a new generation of launch vehicles that are low cost, reliable, have a quick turn around, and can carry passengers.
Some of the design and engineering projects underway today are the prototypes of future travel vehicles, both Earth-bound and space-bound. McDonnell Douglas has designed a low speed reusable rocket called ‘Delta Clipper DC-X’, which proved that reusable rockets are realistic and can be managed by a small team. The ‘Kankoh-Maru’ is a Japanese rocket designed to carry fifty passengers into Earth orbit. Bristol Spaceplanes has designed a two stage passenger carrying vehicle called ‘The Space Bus’ with a smaller version called “Spacecab”. The same company also has a sub-orbital spaceplane called ‘Ascender’. Kistler Aerospace Corporation is developing a two stage launch vehicle for small satellites, which they hope will lead to a passenger carrying variety. Kelly Space Technology has designed the ‘Kelly Eclipse’ which is to be towed into high altitude, which they feel will save on fuel. Mitchell Clapp and Pioneer Rocketplane have the ‘Black Horse Pathfinder’, which uses in flight refueling of a single stage vehicle to reach orbit. ‘Cosmos Mariner’ is a four passenger spaceplane from Dynamica Research, and uses conventional jet engines for take-offs and landings. This allows it to use existing airport infrastructures, which is a current major consideration. Both Boeing and Advent Launch Services are promoting marine based sea launches as a means to cut expenses. Boeing also has an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) which can act as a reconfigurable mission control station for air combat operations. And then there is Lockheed’s ‘Venture Star’ an X-33 designed passenger spacecraft for NASA, which is intended to test out a number of technologies.
As advanced as the above future transport vehicles may seem, for the purpose of extended space travel, they are actually flawed in their design. The first flaw is that they each must carry their own fuel system. Not only is this a waste of mass and energy but the chosen fuels are combustible, which makes them potentially dangerous. To counter this problem, Dr. Leik Myabo of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has invented a revolutionary new type of transportation called a ‘Lightcraft’. The ‘Lightcraft’, meant for both earth-bound and space-bound flights, takes advantage of beamed energy technology which allows the craft to carry almost no on-board propellants. The ship’s power would be derived from laser or microwave energy beamed from Earth or Earth orbiting stations.
There is, however, one major part of future travel missing in all of these design concepts – interdimensional space travel, and co-existing time line travel more commonly called time travel. Regardless of how many different types of technology each of the above spacecraft incorporate, they still have one type of physics in common - they all travel in linear time using the standard physics of propulsion. In an extended space voyage using linear propulsion, the original voyager might not live to see his destination. Hibernation aside, current visionary quantum physicists - and this author - believe that mankind will future travel, not by the science of e=mc2 (for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, i.e. propulsion) but through a form of interdimensional vehicular teleportation. In the space-time continuum travel scenario, a craft would ‘pop out’ of this dimensional frequency – let the universe move by – and then ‘pop back in’ to the original frequency when the craft reaches the destination point. Change to a different frequency, when ‘popping back in’, and the traveler can journey to a different time line aka co-existing time line. This technology could be used whether a person is traveling from New York to London, Earth to the Orion Nebula, or seven-hundred and fifty years into a future co-existing time line. The trip would take minutes instead of lifetimes.
Whether harnessing the power of electromagnetics, radio frequencies, solar power, or black holes the future of travel will belong to those who can control time as well as space. Taking into consideration that most advances in aeronautics have been developed under the cover of secrecy, there is little doubt that interdimensional – and possibly co-existing time line travel - is in the works somewhere.
Lightcraft courtesy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Cosmos Mariner courtesy of Dynamica ResearchInternational Space Station courtesy of NASAUCAV courtesy of Boeing
Advent CAC1 sea launch courtesy of Advent Launch Services
Venture Star X-33 courtesy of Lockheed Martin
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