If everything goes according to plan, the NASA Artemis Program
- build and launch the "Gateway" (a space station that will orbit the small moon
between now and 2024
- land people on the moon by 2024
- set up a sustainable Lunar Outpost by 2028
- plan for Mars
Oddly enough, it was the unveiling of the new spacesuits that made me think "Wow, they are actually serious about this." When scientists make clothing it certainly looks different. "Function over form."
I feel this actually has the greatest chance of success because it is being led by NASA/government and being supported by private companies who are capable of exploiting the lucrative potential space has to offer. Even so, things do not always go according to plan and space is not particularly forgiving. Also, in this document one of the primary reasons to go to the moon is " Establishes American leadership with strategic presence." Which means "military."
The urgency of this program is what stands out as being somewhat disconcerting.
Self-Driving/Electric Cars and Autonomous Everything
Caterpillar has an impressive system of autonomous earthmovers. They mine and move earth like clockwork because they do it where there are no people. I'm pretty sure a giant mining truck will not stop should a person walk out in front of it.
I was not a fan of electric cars until the VW race car won the Pike's Peak Hill Climb. That was the first demonstration I had seen where an electric car clearly outperformed every other competitor. (The reason is electric motors are not affected by altitude.) I think the only way electric cars will prosper is through capturing the car enthusiast, the person that enjoys driving so that when their internal combustion engine is taken away, it is replaced with something more enjoyable.
I think autonomous cars and human-driven cars can not coexist on the same roads. For example, at Disneyland, the rides are automated. You can not bring your own log to ride down Splash Mountain. You have to ride in their logs because a rogue log would cause problems with the system. If an autonomous vehicle was something different than a car and had its own infrastructure separate from human drivers...that might work. People like the feeling of independence driving allows them and I do not see them giving that up.
Predicting the Future is Hard
These are my preliminary thoughts on these particular topics. I am not against the ideas but there is a substantial amount of risk involved and I do not hear anyone saying, "You know? Perhaps this is not such a good idea after all" about any of them. Perhaps I'm not listening well enough.
What are your thoughts about the future?