I'm amazed - A History of the Future has blown past 100% funding in just four days! It's a fantastic feeling, and the fact that someone like me can raise money from friends and strangers around the world shows that we're already living in the future.
In fact, my most recent article for The Telegraph, about how we don't need permission to be creative any more, was inspired largely by this Kickstarter project, and your support. A lot of the work that I've done in the last few years has been commissioned, meaning that it's been 'made to order' to some degree. I've been lucky in that most of the commissioners have been relatively enlightened, but you never get over the twinge of pain when you see your ideas changed in a way that you know is wrong - and that's what new technology and networking is changing, by eliminating the need for permission through reduced cost of production, unlimited 'shelf space', and crowdfunding.
Enough about funding. I wanted to share a bit of research I found (via Metafilter) about what new technologies NASA might be trying out in the future. In this case, the technology in question is a 'Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle' which can venture beyond the Moon and as far as Mars, using a centrifuge for artificial gravity and some kind of ion engine or electromagnetic propulsion system. In other words, it's a bona fide deep space exploration vehicle.
Now, for people who grew up with the Moon landings, this will seem rather weak compared to the Apollo programme, but for all of my life, humans have reached no further than low Earth orbit, so it's profoundly exciting to me that we might once again venture forth, at the low, low price of $3.7 billion. That's cheap enough for Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Bill Gates to have a interplanetary race to Mars and back; it certainly beats building pointlessly bigger yachts, in any case.
It's possible that we could see these spacecraft in under six years. Just imagine where we might be in sixty years.
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