What might we eventually see in space?

To boldy go…

Here’s a visual showing some of the things that might theoretically be possible in the distant future. Note that all the ideas listed here are possible from a laws of physics point of view, although the engineering challenges and costs associated with most of them are, shall we say, a bit ‘far out’.

The way this works is that the ideas that are closest (larger type) are nearer than the things far away (in smaller type). There’s some vague clustering of ideas too (for example, human habitation, propulsion, water and so on).

The ideas are as follows:

First woman on the moon

First human never to breathe Earth’s air

Mass emigration of climate refugees into space

More humans in space than on Earth

Use of lunar lava tubes for human habitation

Space cities with pseudo-gravity & circadian rhythm simulation

Discovery of AI-controlled data-farms on distant planet

Discovery of AI ‘lifeform’ in space

Verification of panspermia hypothesis

Proof that the Universe is a simulation

Genetic engineering of space colonists for increased resilience

Terra-forming exoplanets with bacteria

Use of Synthetic biology to detoxify space soil for agriculture

Space seeds specially bred for space soils

Human DNA storage vaults in space

Microbes found in meteorites

Liquid water found on distant planet

Asteroid mining for minerals & water

Refuelling of fusion-powered craft with water from comets

3-D printing of space food

First hamburger grown in space

 3D & 4-D printing of space cities in-situ

Self-reconfiguring modular robots for space-based construction

Peak space junk limits launch of satellites from Earth

Space junk removal using 2-D space dumpsters

Companies fined for space littering

1-gram laser sailing nano-craft

Interstellar pit stops & ‘shipyards’

Worm-hole travel to shorten space journeys

Nuclear blast propulsion

Beam-powered propulsion

Reactionless drive

Dark matter harvesting for propulsion purposes

Dark energy engines (warp-drive)

Dyson sphere around the Sun to harvest energy

Fostering collisions between dead stars to create energy

Propulsion systems allow for relocation of planets

Accidental destruction of an exoplanet

Rearrangement of constellations to send message to a future intelligence

Space mirrors to reduce global warming on Earth

Beaming space solar power to Earth using lasers

Fake moons (illumination satellites)

PDF for printing here.

This chart was created to boldly go where no infographic has gone before by Professor Roberto Trotta and Richard Watson at Imperial College London. Thanks to Lawrence (Wond Design), Maria (Imperial Tech Foresight) and Sergiu (ex Imperial, aerospace engineering). If NASA eventually read this, the answer is yes! Printable PDF is coming…

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