China wants to build kilometer-long spacecraft to explore the cosmos
A Chinese group has just announced its intention to develop a spacecraft several kilometers long, which makes it at least 30 times longer than the ISS.
Apparently not happy with the current tools for space exploration, China just announced plans for a sci-fi-style spaceship that’s bigger than anything out there right now. With the tools available to scientists and astronomers today, what humans have been able to accomplish is more than impressive. The Hubble Telescope has captured galaxies millions of light years away, NASA is currently operating a remote helicopter on Mars, and space tourism is fast becoming a reality.
As exciting as all of these things are, they are pale compared to what we see in movies, video games, and TV shows. The idea of sending humans to Mars is exhilarating, but the Mass Effect the universe has mass relays that instantly transport a ship anywhere across the Milky Way. There is also the Halo Array of Halo series, hyperspace in Star wars, etc.
While some of these things are too far-fetched to exist anytime soon, this recent development from China brings us a little closer. According to a report by South China Morning Post, the National Natural Science Foundation of China is embarking on a five-year project to explore the possibilities of “an ultra-large spacecraft stretching for miles.” According to the organization, “[Such a spacecraft] is a major strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, the exploration of the mysteries of the universe and the long-term maintenance in orbit. ” This is one of ten projects in total that the team is exploring, and if it is among the five that are ultimately selected, it will receive up to $ 2.3 million in funding to begin development.
Why this new spaceship could be a game-changer
There are few other details about the ultra-large spacecraft, but the fact that it is several miles long is all anyone needs to know about its real ambition. In one context, the International Space Station – arguably the gold standard for a spacecraft in long-range orbit – is only 356 feet in length. If this new spacecraft were only three kilometers long, that would make it almost 30 times longer than the ISS. The spacecraft is reportedly even longer than a Star Destroyer, which is just under a mile long. If the ship gets to three miles, four miles, or whatever, it just gets more and more breathtaking.
Of course, building such an extravagant spaceship comes with many challenges. It would take multiple launches to remove all of the pieces from Earth, and crews would have to put them together in space. Not to mention, the money required to fund such a huge project is almost difficult to comprehend. Despite its small size, the ISS alone cost around $ 150 billion. If China wants to create a spacecraft that is at least 30 times the size, one can only imagine the price tag associated with it.
Even though it will be a long long before this spaceship becomes a reality, it is exciting that such ambitious projects are already being explored, even if they are in their very early stages. Whether it’s a new spacecraft to take humans to the moon or a longer-than-ever-imagined spacecraft, it’s safe to say the world of space exploration never rests.
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Source: South China Morning Post
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