Future Space

What is the future of space travel? Explore the technologies we’ll use to visit the stars in the near and not-so-near future, from space planes to robonauts.


Which space enthusiast among us doesn't dream of peering at Earth from a spaceship gliding in outer space or of turning somersaults in microgravity? When are these dreams going to be realized? Or have they been already?

Surely nuclear weapons, which can obliterate entire cities, contain enough destructive power to blow a giant space rock to bits, right? What does NASA make of the whole explosive business?

Imagine parallel parking on slippery ice during a dangerous dust storm. Landing on Mars presents similar obstacles, on a grander scale. And remember, insurance doesn't cover extraterrestrial damage.

Researchers are using the moon's gravitational pull on bodies of water to test underwater turbine electricity production. It's considered clean power, but is it completely safe?

Bill Cooke, NASA scientist, is regularly shooting marbles into carefully arranged piles of soil. Why is NASA paying this man to do something most of us would do for free? It's all about our return to the moon.

It's safe to assume there won't be a moon colony any time soon. But it's still a tantalizing thought. But wouldn't it be cool to be able to live, vacation and work on the moon?

NASA needs a vehicle capable of carrying crew and payloads to Earth orbit, the moon and Mars. Learn about the technologies of the new Crew Exploration Vehicle and find out how it will help us explore the moon and beyond.

Get a sneak peek (even before NASA scientists) at a new type of spacecraft that could be jolted through space by electromagnets.

Scientists are now developing a new type of composite material that will allow spacecraft to repair themselves. Learn more about this amazing future technology.

Using current rocket engine technology, a trip to Mars takes seven months. Fusion propulsion would cut that trip in half. Find out what fusion is and how it could speed up space travel.

Like many new technologies, light propulsion was originally conceived as a tool of war and national defense. But the "Star Wars" missile defense system may eventually send rockets, rather than missile-destroying lasers, into space.

Air-breathing rockets have the potential to dramatically lower launch costs and may make space lots more accessible to normal people. See how it will work!

Have you heard about the new astronauts in town? They're dexterous, sensitive and don't mind doing dull and repetitive tasks in space a whit. They're robots. And one of them is shacking up at the International Space Station right now.

Asteroid-mining startup Planetary Resources has already launched its first experimental probe, and could revolutionize space exploration and exploitation.

Antimatter has the ability to store incredible amounts of energy in a very small space. See how it will work.

Asteroid mines could become an incredible source of building supplies for a colony on the moon. Learn how they will work!

The thought of terraforming Mars is one of those ideas so outrageous that it just might work! Learn how it will work!

Space planes are likely to be the replacement for the space shuttle. Learn how they will work!

Inflatable spacecraft will revolutionize satellites and space habitats. Learn how they will work!

A space shuttle launch is expensive -- about $10,000 per pound. The LiftPort Group is developing a new system that could cut the cost down to about $400 per pound. Find out how a space elevator might be your ticket into orbit.