Getting out of Earth’s gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we’re frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here’s how we’ll get from Earth to space in the future.
On a mission to Mars, future astronauts will have to leave the protection of Earth’s magnetic field. As they head into deep space, high-energy galactic cosmic rays will pass through the hull of their ship and into their bodies. This might have dangerous—and lasting—consequences for the astronauts’ health.
Our bodies aren’t meant for space. We require too much maintenance to speed through the stars. We need a steady supply of things absent from space — namely water, food and oxygen. We crave warmth but won’t find it in deep space, where the average temperature is -455 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if we could survive in an icy vacuum without sustenance, we’d probably go insane without distractions and room to move.