Space tourism is much closer than you may think. The International Space Station will soon retire from its successful run through low Earth orbit. But humanity’s next home in space is already preparing to launch. What will future space stations look like? What will we use them for? And how soon could you walk aboard one?
In the past two decades, the International Space Station has hosted over 250 astronauts from all around the world. The ISS is used as a research facility in low Earth orbit. There, scientists study anything from microgravity to new medical techniques. Their research is what’s fueling our future interplanetary travel. But as with all good things, the ISS won’t last forever.
It’s already experiencing air leaks and other system failures. But when the time comes to put it out of commission in 2030, the door to space will be wide open for the next wave of explorers. This brings us to the current quest to develop humanity’s next-generation space modules. If you want a glimpse, a new exhibit in Dubai’s Museum of the Future provides a look at the next stage of low Earth orbital concepts. So what might future modules actually look like?
Think you need to be an astronaut to go to space? Well, I’ve got news for you. Private companies are now stepping in to launch multiple space stations into orbit within the next decade. And soon, space tourism will be so readily available, you might be able to see our big blue marble of a home planet with your own eyes. That is, if you have the money.
Because private companies have stepped in to cover some of the space bills, agencies like NASA can focus on getting us to Mars and pushing the ongoing exploratory missions beyond our planetary neighborhood. For you, that means a new era of space travel is right around the corner. And you’ve got some options to get there a little cheaper. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft are already transporting astronauts to the ISS.
So far it’s saved NASA as much as $30 billion. Still, a window seat for an astronaut still costs around $50 million, so maybe don’t stop saving just yet. Jeff Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, has designed their own low Earth orbit space station, Orbital Reef. You’ll notice that the station will feature the usual research labs but you could also use their onboard 3D printers and do some gardening off-Earth.
I don’t know about you but my top priority in space would be premium printing services. All the best hotels have that right? Well, Axiom Space is already building modules for the ISS, including a space hotel. It will attach to the ISS while it’s still operational. Then, this galactic hotel will live as its own space station. You could look out its massive windows overlooking Earth and use its large entertainment systems.
If you want to start a business in orbit, Axiom will custom-build a module for any manufacturing you may want to do. You could even make new modules. That’s quite a rental unit. Or maybe you’re looking for something with more Moon base potential. Sierra Space has examples of inflatable living areas called LIFE habitats (Large Integrated Flexible Environment), which include crew quarters, closets and, more importantly, better bathrooms.
The idea is to use these as free-floating space stations that you could one day land on the Moon. It would include a rocket launch pad to get home and even a nuclear power plant. Think of this as a galactic pit stop on your way to Mars. So can you picture what it’s like to be on one of those space stations yet? If you don’t want to wait for years or shell out that kind of cash, you’re in luck.
That’s what the Orbital Space Station Hope space station is for, and it’s right here on Earth at Dubai’s Museum of the Future. You’ll see replicas of space shuttles and learn about the cool futuristic capabilities that are currently underway above our atmosphere. You could learn about how photovoltaic cells on the Moon are used to beam microwave energy back to Earth.
Or go and learn about the missions space pioneers will soon take on. Of course you can always gaze right back at our Earth without having to experience the G forces to get there, or the bills of space hotel room service. The Museum of the Future features much more than space exploration. Here, you can learn what awaits you down on Earth too.
From Tomorrow Today, where you can see the prototypes of exciting new technologies that will improve our ways of living on this planet, to Future Heroes, where the youngest visitors will discover their future selves through fun activities. Al Waha level will teach you to enjoy life without technology and reconnect with your inner self. And finally, Vault of Life, where you could understand nature in the rainforest ecosystem simulator.
This is a place where you can glimpse into the future, touch the future and shape the future yourself. And if you’re a space enthusiast willing to brush shoulders with some of the world’s best space-minded entrepreneurs, the Museum of the Future plans to be an incubator to collaborate and innovate on low earth orbit habitats and beyond. And who knows. Maybe we’ll start building a superstructure in space sooner than we expect. How about a Dyson sphere around the Sun?