Will We Sail the Stars?

I’ve been reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and having my mind blown on most pages. He speaks often of how technology has developed in the past and how it might in the future, such as in this passage:

In 1939 . . . a group of engineers calling themselves the British Interplanetary Society designed a ship to take people to the Moon—using 1939 technology. It was by no means identical to the design of the Apollo spacecraft, which accomplished exactly this mission three decades later, but it suggested that a mission to the Moon might one day be a practical engineering possibility. Today we have preliminary designs for ships to take people to the stars.

Carl Sagan, Cosmos, p. 219

He goes on to describe how this technology might work.

Then I realized, this book was published in 1980, already 40 years ago. What technologies exist now that I am unaware of? What might exist in 40 more?

It’s astounding that the first successful flight by the Wright brothers was in 1903 and the first human foot touched the Moon in 1969, a mere 63 years later. What might technology be in another 63 years? As this article explains, the iPhones in our pockets in 2019 had 100,000x more processing power and 7,000,000x more memory than the computer that landed us on the Moon.

Reading Cosmos today would be like reading a science book from 1929 in the year of the first Moon landing.

The main point is that our modern day speculations shouldn’t be discounted or thought absurd. We’ve accomplished things most people in history would ridicule were we able to go back and describe them to them. And provided things continue as they are, what sorts of advancements might be made in another 5,000 years?

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