Author Topic: Predictions for 2050  (Read 16029 times)

Offline ThereIWas3

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 948
  • Liked: 500
  • Likes Given: 338
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #20 on: 06/02/2022 08:09 pm »
Ecological collapse will have ended all manned space programs.

Offline Eric Hedman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2181
  • The birthplace of the solid body electric guitar
  • Liked: 1812
  • Likes Given: 1014
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #21 on: 06/03/2022 04:33 am »
Ecological collapse will have ended all manned space programs.
Aren't you a ray of sunshine?

Offline soyuzu

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 212
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #22 on: 06/03/2022 05:42 am »
Spaceflight community will still overestimate the impact of new technology in the short-term and underestimate the effect in the long run, like this thread shows.

Offline jstrotha0975

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 485
  • United States
  • Liked: 285
  • Likes Given: 2280
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #23 on: 06/03/2022 04:56 pm »
Ecological collapse will have ended all manned space programs.

They told me in school in the late 80's the NYC would be under 7 ft of water by 2000.

Offline Eric Hedman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2181
  • The birthplace of the solid body electric guitar
  • Liked: 1812
  • Likes Given: 1014
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #24 on: 06/03/2022 07:50 pm »
Ecological collapse will have ended all manned space programs.

They told me in school in the late 80's the NYC would be under 7 ft of water by 2000.
Historians found a conversation in the Nixon White House tapes from around 1972 Tip O'Neil telling Nixon the same thing.  He said Washington D.C. would be underwater too.

Offline Nemzoj Otikeun

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
  • Earth
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #25 on: 06/05/2022 01:39 pm »
With 28 years to speculate on the distance has to be long to come close but any error in direction will get magnified to the point where these predictions will look really silly in hindsight. The good news is I will not care because if I am still alive I will not be able to remember my own name let alone what I said decades ago.

Falcon raised the bar for entry into the launch business and Starship will raise it higher. Staying in the launch business will involve jumping now so the big providers will be SpaceX, China and India - each with their version of Starlink. When Jeff loses interest ULA takes the engines side of Blue for USSF launches and RocketLab picks up the large infrastructure for their successor to Neutron. Europe will operate something with solid rockets for military launches but will license something big from SpaceX or RocketLab for their version of Starlink.

Some major cities will be connected by sub-orbital Starship. The landing facilities will be incompatible with competitors so they would have to build their own. New Shepard and Virgin Galactic will be forgotten. Nuclear powered methane production becomes marginally cost competitive because of carbon taxes. There will be some SLS launches and repeat contracts to replace hardware that died of old age. SLS eventually gets cancelled and replaced by something even more expensive and delayed - probably a nuclear powered interplanetary engine.

The expensive part of astronomy is the data handling, which will be 3D superconducting molecular circuits built by DNA programmed nano machines. Astronomy will get pushed into space by Starlink and its competitors but satellites will be mass produced. That will bring down the prices of the next two most expensive components: the mirrors and the sensor. Add in some widely spaced gravitational wave detectors and a neutrino detector on the Moon so there should be some really impressive discoveries.

Spinlaunch or its equivalent will be operational ... on the Moon. Payloads will be LOX and light metals. Some Luna transport will be by cable car -  used to prototype technology for a lunar space elevator.

Lunatics and Martians will still spend most of their work time underground and operate surface machinery by telepresence. There will be an experimental large electromagnet to test techniques for building a really big magnet that will live at Mars-Sun L1 to act as a radiation shield. There Mars population will be too small to justify a shield but it will give people some reason to think that Mars has a future. High temperature electronics for use on the surface of Venus gets a 1m process - enough for some simple CPUs. 

Self-driving cars will still require supervision on ordinary roads but will work properly and be mandatory on roads built or adapted for the purpose.

Offline Lagranger

  • Member
  • Posts: 2
  • United States
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #26 on: 06/05/2022 04:13 pm »
I believe that it is probably not possible to predict technical developments, but I guess that no rocket currently operational or in-development will be launching in the year 2050.

SpaceX would probably not be an Elon Musk project, but it will probably still be run by "true believers" in space colonization and exploitation. The company would likely be controversial even without its founder. Blue Origin will hopefully be an orbital launch provider. The small launch market will probably go through multiple cycles of consolidation and expansion, but I hope that Rocket Lab sticks around. Medium and heavy launch providers will likely proliferate and appear in new countries.

2050 seems far enough out that a driving product for space industry could be discovered. My bet would be manufactured organs or some sort of exotic super-material, but those are just shots in the dark, and I have no doubt that when (and if) a space product comes out, it will be surprising.

I also believe that space politics will be more mainstream, militarized, and divisive. Instead of a broad grouping of space supporters, there might be many factions who publicly and loudly disagree about the proper use of space. It seems likely that international manned spaceflights will still happen, but that they will be based on alliances instead of something like the ISS.

Barring anything really dramatic and unexpected, I would bet on there being on the order of hundreds of people living in LEO, tens of people on the Moon, and less than ten people on Mars (most likely zero, but perhaps a manned outpost). If a very important product is discovered in space, that could lead to these figures being much larger, perhaps by one or two orders of magnitude.

It also seems likely that some sort of Kessler Syndrome event will happen, but I am optimistic that it will be mitigated somehow :).

Offline daedalus1

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 812
  • uk
  • Liked: 405
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #27 on: 06/05/2022 04:52 pm »
Ecological collapse will have ended all manned space programs.

They told me in school in the late 80's the NYC would be under 7 ft of water by 2000.

No one in their right mind was predicting that. Your teacher should have been sacked.
I was reading a lot in the 1970's about the effects of CO2 on the climate and yes sea levels would rise but much slower.

Offline Orbiter

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2969
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1494
  • Likes Given: 1363
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #28 on: 06/05/2022 05:05 pm »
I agree that human missions to Mars by 2050 will be a relatively rare, Apollo-like thing. I don't believe humanity will ever have a permanent presence on Mars until the 2100s.
Astronomer & launch photographer

Offline scienceguy

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 264
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #29 on: 07/17/2022 09:38 pm »
Predictions for 2050

A commercial nuclear fusion power plant just came online last year.

There have been two human missions to Mars, one in 2047, one in 2049. Both were just flags and footprints, both largely done by NASA, with support from SpaceX. There is doubt as to further human missions to Mars, as the US government is looking at deep cuts to curb national debt.

The world will have largely transitioned to wind and solar power generation, but some oil and coal will still be used.

Electronics will continue to advance unchecked, such that people will be attending meetings as holograms a la Star Wars. Hologram movies will be popular a la Futurama.

Biomedical advances will continue to be made, such that people will regularly be living to 110 years old.

There will be a rotating space hotel, taking space tourists.

NASA will have a base in lunar orbit, and a base on the lunar surface, both mainly staffed by research scientists.

There will be extensive data on hundreds of thousands of exoplanets, but no life found yet.
e^(pi*i) = -1

Offline SunVogel

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #30 on: 09/03/2022 05:12 am »
There will be no space program in 2050s.  Launches probably end by 2035 or sooner, due to deindustrailization.

The last 160 years are the result of cheap liquid energy (oil)  that returns far more energy/calories than it takes to extract it ... the Energy Return on Investment, EROI = calories_received/calories_expended

Every material aspect of modern society amounts to oil in a different form. Every building, road, piece of clothing, bag of flour. That includes solar, wind, nuclear power which cannot exist without a liquid oil infrastructure to support them.

Uranium can't be mined by wind power. It needs deisel.  Passenger airplanes can't fly on solar. They need pretty specific high calorie liquid fuels. Solar panels can't be manufactured in quantity without oil infrastructure to mine the silver and other materials to construct the inefficient panels which degrade in ~15 years.  Solar power accelerates world energy poverty.

Even electric cars are actually powered by coal used to produce the electricity obtained when plugged in to recharge the lithium/nickel batteries that need oil to be mined and transported back and forth through the refining stages. And that coal to power "electric" cars needs oil to be mined in quantity. 

Any replacement technology would takes decades to deploy even if it didn't itself require oil to develop. There is no replacement technology visible and no time to deploy if there was.

We live in a high tech society not because we are smarter now, but because we had cheap, easy energy .... 10s of thousands of calories could be obtained for each calorie of work expended to obtain it in the form petroleum products. That's why the modern world of technology is different from the rest of history.

This is going to end shortly because all the "economic" oil has been tapped.  It is rapidly getting to the point where it takes more than one barrel worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil from the ground. 

The halfway point was passed in 2012 (half a barrel of energy to get one barrel to market). The low hanging fruit of the last 160 years is GONE.  The days of Jed Clampet  making a fortune with a lucky shot into the dirt are long gone. It takes a lot of energy to extract oil now:



When it takes more energy to get oil out of the ground than the energy contained in the oil (which will happen in the mid-late 2020s), the value of the oil remaining in the ground goes to ZERO. Even if ~53% of the world's reserves remain (as they will), getting it to market leaves you poorer than if you left it in the ground.

Poorer in the sense of less available energy, less ability to do things, even if the dollars are inflated so you have more of those.

It doesn't matter how much you want, need or are willing to pay for it. Getting the oil only makes you poorer. Economic viability is upstream from supply and demand.

Oil companies and governments are pushing the date off by taking on massive debt (as with uneconomic shale oil), pushing the energy cliff to the future. But that can't last but a few years and is already well advanced. The US government has about $250 trillion of debt obligations that will need to be paid in the next 20 years. It's not possible. $32 trillion more are being added per year. Living like its the 1960s and energy to do things is easily available.

Price of oil may go up, being measured in inflating dollars. But what you can do with the residual energy left after the extraction energy, is going to zero.  Oil in the ground is becoming worthless.

If a booth across the street will give you a dollar bill, but you have to pay a $2 toll first, how much is that booth worth?  ZERO.  Same with oil.

So this means no space program. Zero. Nada. Return to 1800's level energy sources in the next 10-15 years. No space colonies. No starships. Not even world-wide air travel.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37868
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 23255
  • Likes Given: 11561
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #31 on: 09/03/2022 05:39 am »
Okay, let's not get political. I thought it was satire.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline M.E.T.

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2165
  • Liked: 2718
  • Likes Given: 457
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #32 on: 09/03/2022 07:04 am »
To my knowledge, Musk has not claimed we will have a million people on Mars by 2050. He has said he hopes we are well on our way there, but that it wont be reached in his lifetime.

(Of course someone will now point me to a quote where he did indeed say exactly that).🤷‍♂️

Anyway, I recall several conversations where he has said a self sustaining city (meaning at least 1 million people) will only be achieved after his lifetime.

« Last Edit: 09/03/2022 07:06 am by M.E.T. »

Offline su27k

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6415
  • Liked: 9071
  • Likes Given: 885
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #33 on: 09/03/2022 07:26 am »
Wed have a hard time building an efficient new city of a million people from scratch on Earth in that time frame.

Shenzhen's population grew from 59k in 1980 to 1.1M in 1991, that's just 11 years.

People only have a hard time imagining this because they thought everybody else on Earth is as mired in regulation hell as the west, not so I can tell you, once you threw red tapes out of the window, humans can do remarkable things in a short time.


Offline Eric Hedman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2181
  • The birthplace of the solid body electric guitar
  • Liked: 1812
  • Likes Given: 1014
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #34 on: 09/06/2022 06:45 am »
Wed have a hard time building an efficient new city of a million people from scratch on Earth in that time frame.

Shenzhen's population grew from 59k in 1980 to 1.1M in 1991, that's just 11 years.

People only have a hard time imagining this because they thought everybody else on Earth is as mired in regulation hell as the west, not so I can tell you, once you threw red tapes out of the window, humans can do remarkable things in a short time.
59,000 people is not starting from scratch.  Plus they didn't have to develop new technology to do it.

Offline Timber Micka

Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #35 on: 09/06/2022 01:44 pm »
I think we will have a permanently manned base at the lunar South Pole and a manned outpost (similar to an Antarctic base) near one of the two poles of Mars.
The 2050s will be a complicated decade for NASA as lunar and Mars operations will be transferred to the private sector (SLS/Orion replaced by a Commercial Crew-like program) and the agency will have to refocus its activities significantly.
I think that from there they will work mainly in the field of robotics and in the search for advanced propulsion systems, which will be essential to explore the outer planets and other distant destinations efficiently.
At JPL I believe work on unmanned submarines to explore ocean worlds of our solar system will be well underway. Following the success of the previous mission to Uranus, there will be a flagship mission to Neptune during the decade (I hope it will include a Triton Lander).
A very large telescope, probably Luvoir B, as well as an equivalent to the Terrestrial Planet Finder will be operational.

I think that a major "Horizon 2100" program will be created in order to determine clear objectives for the end of the century and anticipate the challenges of space exploration in the 22nd century. One of the goals could be to send a robotic probe to the Alpha Centauri system by the end of the century.

Offline raketa

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 454
  • Liked: 144
  • Likes Given: 58
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #36 on: 09/06/2022 02:43 pm »
Do you think SLS and Orion will have any significant role in building Moon base or even Mars.?I could see maybe 2-3 moon SLS trips, since Elon focus is Mars and Moon is just test bed.But Mars will be private enterpise supported by richest peron on the world.

Offline Eric Hedman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2181
  • The birthplace of the solid body electric guitar
  • Liked: 1812
  • Likes Given: 1014
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #37 on: 09/06/2022 10:33 pm »
Do you think SLS and Orion will have any significant role in building Moon base or even Mars.?I could see maybe 2-3 moon SLS trips, since Elon focus is Mars and Moon is just test bed.But Mars will be private enterpise supported by richest peron on the world.
I don't see how anyone could afford building anything significant on the Moon with the cost of SLS/Orion.  I think SLS and Orion will be phased out early in the next decade after a basic foundation of a base is placed on the Moon.  I think it will be Starship and future competitors that build up the Moon infrastructure in the 2030s.

Offline Elvis in Space

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Elvis is Everywhere
  • Still on Earth
  • Liked: 754
  • Likes Given: 5782
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #38 on: 09/06/2022 11:41 pm »
Ecological collapse will have ended all manned space programs.

They told me in school in the late 80's the NYC would be under 7 ft of water by 2000.

They told me in 1968 that we'd all be dead from pollution, pandemic, totalitarianism, alien invasion, nuclear holocaust, over-population, and starvation from crop failure due to all the above listed reasons. What really failed? Most of the things that were going to destroy us.

I'll take a moderate outlook and figure that Spacex, spurred by competition, some yet unforeseen, has indeed gained a permanent foothold on the Moon and Mars. To what degree it's too hard to predict but we are there. I think more accurate guides of what to expect are the examples of what happened to growth in aviation, telecommunications, computers, etc. Humanity's natural instincts are to always look for something that works better. That's something that hasn't failed in all of human history so it seems the safest bet.  8)
« Last Edit: 09/06/2022 11:59 pm by Elvis in Space »
Cheeseburgers on Mars!

Offline Eric Hedman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2181
  • The birthplace of the solid body electric guitar
  • Liked: 1812
  • Likes Given: 1014
Re: Predictions for 2050
« Reply #39 on: 09/12/2022 02:54 am »
This is going to end shortly because all the "economic" oil has been tapped.  It is rapidly getting to the point where it takes more than one barrel worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil from the ground. 
No.  I deal with people in oil exploration.  They tell me there is plenty of oil and we are nowhere near peak oil.  The technology they have developed is absolutely amazing as they keep finding better ways to extract oil from multiple types of geological structures.  The Permian Basin has plenty of oil available for the foreseeable future that does not require anywhere near the energy you claim it does to get it out.

Whether we should be doing this is a separate debate and off topic for this thread.

 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1