The future of space travel is starting right now

Astronaut Garrett Reisman talks NASA, SpaceX, and where we're headed next.

GARRETT REISMAN: A hundred years from now I think we'll be celebrating the centennial of 2020 and all the stuff that's going to happen in 2020. Not just this crazy pandemic and all this stuff that's happening but as far as space goes 2020 is going to be a really good year. I know 2020, I'll admit 2020 so far has not been one of my more favorite years. In fact, it's pretty terrible. It's been pretty awful. But I can also tell you that there's going to be something really, really amazing that happens in 2020 which is that we're finally going to see the true launch, no pun intended, of this whole new era of space exploration led by a lot of private companies working in partnership with NASA that are going to take us back to space using American rockets, launching from American soil.
And it's going to happen first by SpaceX and SpaceX we've been working on the Crew Dragon vehicle for a long time now. This is the year it's going to fly. We have a date actually scheduled only two months from now is when we plan to do the first flight with people and it's going to be Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, two former colleagues of mine, two friends of mine are going to be the first test pilots to fly Dragon up to the space station. And so we're finally going to get to the point in SpaceX where we're launching people on our rockets which is what the company was founded for.
But it's not just SpaceX. It's also Boeing is not that far behind on their spacecraft, the Starliner. And then we have two other private companies that are doing suborbital flights purely for space tourism. But they also, both these companies have plans and ambitions to go beyond that. And that is Blue Origin. It has a New Shepard vehicle that's going to go straight up. Like I was saying before it's going to go straight up and straight back down but you'll get high enough to see the curvature of the Earth. You'll experience about five minutes of floating in zero gravity and look, it's going to be an incredible ride. If I hadn't have already gone myself I would totally be buying a ticket right now.
And so Elon, Jeff Bezos they put a lot of their effort had money and resources into jumpstarting this whole, to get us back on that trajectory to where we're headed toward having a colony on Mars or in the case of Jeff Bezos he wants to have massive space stations where millions of people can live in space and do all the manufacturing. He wants to basically turn Earth into a national park kind of thing where you can come and visit but let's get all the factories off of this planet so we stop polluting it. They have these incredibly grand visions, so that's going to change everything. The access to space for humans is going to drastically expand this year in 2020.
I think in a hundred years first of all we're going to be celebrating 2020, so 2120 get ready for a big party. Just like we had all theses great events to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of landing on the moon, Apollo 11 and the Apollo program, we're going to be celebrating 2020 I think in the same way.
Because this is just the start. All those things I just described as wonderful as they are and as big of a step as they are it's just the first step because all these companies and all these projects that we're talking about is just the beginning. The next step and the things that they have on the drawing boards, the things not just on the drawing boards but the things that are being tested in Boca Chica and in other places where the other companies have their test sites are really going to knock your socks off. We're talking about incredible new machines, new rockets that can carry lots of people and go much further, back to the moon, onto Mars. But what's happening here in 2020 is the start of all that. Basically all those dreams that we were promised in science fiction in the 1950s about taking your vacations amongst the rings of Saturn and all that. That's starting now and we're heading that way and I couldn't be more excited about that.

  • 2020 is off to rocky start, but there are some exciting things happening on the space travel front.
  • Private companies like SpaceX and Boeing have partnered with NASA to get American spacecrafts into space, back to the moon, and onwards to Mars.
  • "I think in a hundred years first of all we're going to be celebrating 2020, so 2120 get ready for a big party," says astronaut Garrett Reisman.

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

We’ve mapped a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Take the virtual tour here.

See the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash
Surprising Science

Astronomers have mapped about a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way, in the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.

Keep reading Show less

New data reveals Earth closer to a black hole and 16,000 mph faster

A new study shows our planet is much closer to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center than previously estimated.

Credit: NAOJ
Surprising Science
  • A Japanese radio astronomy project revealed Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way's center.
  • The data also showed the planet is moving 7 km/s or 16,000 mph faster in orbit around the Galactic Center.
  • The findings don't mean Earth is in more danger from the black hole but reflect better modeling of the galaxy.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain

    With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.

    Photo: Heinrich Hoffmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images
    Politics & Current Affairs
    • The Battle of Britain is widely recognized as one of the most significant battles that occurred during World War II. It marked the first major victory of the Allied forces and shifted the tide of the war.
    • Historians, however, have long debated the deciding factor in the British victory and German defeat.
    • A new mathematical model took into account numerous alternative tactics that the German's could have made and found that just two tweaks stood between them and victory over Britain.
    Keep reading Show less

    How has technology changed — and changed us — in the past 20 years?

    Apple sold its first iPod in 2001, and six years later it introduced the iPhone, which ushered in a new era of personal technology.

    PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images
    Technology & Innovation
    Just over 20 years ago, the dotcom bubble burst, causing the stocks of many tech firms to tumble.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast