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May 10, 2012

Future Tech: Is space really the final frontier?

Space has been in the news a lot recently, so here at Nokia Connects we thought we’d take a look at whether living and working in space really is an unattainable dream, or whether it’s just around the corner.

via Izismile

We’re fast approaching the 43rd anniversary of the auspicious day when Neil Armstrong uttered those famous words while jumping off a ladder (either 385,000km above the Earth or in a warehouse in the desert, depending on your level of willingness to accept conspiracy theories), and already we’re talking about having to shoot some of our junk out of the sky with laser beams. Indeed, space has been in the news a lot recently. From the amazing images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope (as seen above) to the retirement tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Space is all around us, so how are we going to explore and exploit it next?


Very much in the news over the last couple of days has been the announcement that a billionaire-backed company is planning to pull asteroids out of the sky and mine their precious raw materials. Which, when you think about it (if it’s possible) is actually quite clever. Or is it going to lead to a whole load of ‘space pollution’ as one commenter reckons on this look at the story, with mined out asteroids littering the skies and bits of mining robots in orbit. Is this just an example of the human race’s voracious appetite for consumption, or a very clever method of at least postponing the apocalyptic moment when we simply run out of raw materials to make our stuff’?

via Next Big Future

That’s if we stay Earth-bound, of course. There’s increasing talk of the Average Joe being able to achieve escape velocity and take himself into space. A group in the UK are developing a ‘space engine’ that would allow an aircraft to take off from a regular runway (no launch towers needed). It’s literally rocket science and far too complex for me to get my head round, but as one commenter mentions, this is ‘the first real leap forward in rocket technology since liquid-fuelled rockets’. That about sums it up. Also, just this week, a couple of ‘commercial space shuttles’ have passed wind tunnel testing. Looks like things are getting close. Moving away from this, there’s also the Virgin Galactic efforts at providing space tourism.

via Virgin Galactic

While you’re considering what’s next for space, this animation of the scale of the universe will Blow. You. Away. Once you’ve recovered, let us know where you think the future of man + space lies by leaving a comment, or you can always find us on Twitter.