The Future of Space Exploration

Governments and space agencies across the world have announced plans for future space exploration:

Artist's impression of a human Mars colony
Artist's impression of humans on Mars
Credit: NASA/Pat Rawlings
  • China intends to launch a new space station by 2020
  • NASA intends to launch a new space station in the late 2020s or 2030s
  • USA intends to send humans to Mars by 2030

Spaceflight will become more commercialized, with private companies designing and building rockets to send humans into space. For example, SpaceX is an American company, with a goal to set up a human colony on Mars. SpaceX have developed reusable rockets, which dramatically reduces the cost of spaceflight.

 

SpaceX Dragon rocket
Credit: SpaceX

There are ideas to establish a small colony on the Moon, to set up a launch pad. Rockets to Mars could be launched from the surface of the Moon.
Far in the future, robots will replace humans on spaceflights. Robots can be designed for specific tasks, and can withstand more extreme conditions than humans can. Space exploration will become automated, so that pilots will not be needed on spacecraft - instead, the rockets will fly themselves!

Astronomers and engineers work at the cutting edge of space exploration. Find out how to become an astronomer here.