Missions of Tomorrow

So far, we have only sent people out as far as the Moon. It is human nature to want to go further and discover more of the unknown.

Where next?

We still haven't explored a lot of the Moon's surface so more exploration can be done. In fact the Chinese space agency plans to put astronauts on the Moon by 2036.

NASA is currently gearing up for a manned Mars mission in the 2030s. It is on track to be ready, having begun testing on both the rocket - the Space Launch System (SLS) - and the Orion capsule which will be used to carry humans to Mars.

Testing of an Orion capsule in development for travel to Mars.

How far can we go?

With our current technology, we cannot really travel beyond our Solar System as everything is so far away. If we could somehow travel at the speed of light, it would still take us 4.4 years to reach the nearest star system. For now, extrasolar travel is restricted to the imaginations of science fiction writers, however we may well reach Alpha Centauri before the end of the century.

James Gooding, 2017

All image credits go to NASA (and respective centers/universities)