Next great voyage: Columbus in space

At first, we had our great ancestors who roamed the whole world, having ventured from East to West, from North to South, within an eon known to be over thousands, even hundred thousand, years long. Afterwards, as time went by, we heard tales of the fearless sea-farers, incidentally having a ‘reunion’ with the people they met in the new worlds they discovered having sailed through vastless seas and oceans, who in unbeknownst, perhaps shared the same ancestors thousands of generations prior. As civilization advanced better, which grows to serve the timeless need of human thirst for curiosity, we had conquered the air, thanks to the invention of airplanes.

Now, our next frontier – and perhaps our last – is the timeless, endless space itself. Within centuries, or to a lesser extent, a few decades – we are getting readier to have our first Columbuses having wandered around celestial bodies up in the sky, no matter what the obstacles it may take, even if it takes an inter-generational odyssey – and an everlasting spaceship – to reach the new worlds out there. This is what the Pentagon is envisioning; a grand scheme of 21st century. Even if, given that we utilize current technology to equip the spaceship, 80,000 years may be the minimum time to reach Alpha Centauri, ‘only’ 4 light years from our Sun.


Read it at BBC Future.