OUR FUTURE OFF–EARTH AND THE ROAD TO THE STARS
- 1. College of Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
Fifty thousand years ago, humans demonstrated their urge to explore by leaving Africa and radiating out across the planet. About fifty years ago, they mastered the technology to leave the planet for the first time. Now, we are poised to venture out into the Solar System and beyond, to the stars. Only 600 people have been in Earth orbit, and just 12 have stood on another world. For most of its history, the ―Space Race‖ was a superpower rivalry born out of the Cold War. Now, new countries involved and a burgeoning private sector has bold plans for tourism and commerce beyond the Earth. The next fifty years should see colonies on the Moon and Mars, the mining of asteroids, a space elevator, and increasing human exploration of the Solar System. Space travel is poised to transition from being the activity of an elite few to being a broader aspect of human culture. The dream of human travel to the stars may finally be within reach.