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How can I help make today's developing space technology a reality?

  1. Aug 3, 2012 #1
    Hi,

    I am a college sophomore who is currently headed down a biomedical engineering track. Though I was always somewhat fascinated by space, all of this returning hype about space travel and space mining has really sparked in me the desire to help as much as I can with such proceedings.
    How can I help make seemingly far-off technologies like the space elevator or the anti-matter reactor a reality?
    Can I remain a biomedical engineer and still help propel forward undertakings in space?
    Or do I need to change the course of my education?
    Is there anything at all that I can do now, or start doing now that will make a difference in what I think will be mankind's next greatest achievements in space?

    Thank you all in advance!

    -David Babayev
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2012 #2
    You don't need to do anything. There are significant biomedical challenges that will have to be overcome before going to space.

    Growing nutritious food efficiently is one issue. Dealing with bone density loss in weightlessness is another.

    Dealing with radiation induced cancers is still another. Designing entire ecosystems for longer term space settlement is still another.

    The list is long.
     
  4. Aug 5, 2012 #3
    There are arguably greater biological hurdles to confront in our quest for total galactic domination than strictly engineering obstacles. Here are key points I see in need of being addressed:

    Redesigning the human species for:
    - prolonged radiation exposure
    - long term zero-g exposure
    - adaptability to differing gravitational strengths (this is important, otherwise a distinct speciation will occur between those on mars, earth, the moon, "spacers", etc)
    - toughening lung capillaries to withstand sudden de-pressurization

    More importantly,
    - engineering a race of androids to work in our asteroid mining colonies

    Equally important is the task to develop remote means to suppress the morality centers of our brains, so we have no compunctions towards viciously quelling the occasional android rebellion.

    In all seriousness, the conquest of space as a frontier for exploration will take the combined efforts of almost every field imaginable, from mycology to pathology.
     
  5. Aug 5, 2012 #4
    I've watched a documentary in NASA about this. I am very skeptical about how much we can advance from this approach, I think it is more or less a dead end. There are just way too many hurdles to be overcome, including psychological issues in prolonged space travel. It seems to me that we would have more hope with research in a human/robot interface -- which is a long time away.
     
  6. Aug 6, 2012 #5
    Vote for congressmen who are willing to spend lots of money on these things, and be willing to pay more in taxes if it funds basic research.

    Vote. Also it helps if you get involved in congressional lobbying groups. Elections are coming up. Go to the websites of the various candidates, and if you see one that has the same priorities as you, go and volunteer to get them elected.

    The problem is that if you just think about the technical aspects without thinking about the political aspects, what is going to happen is that you are going to train yourself well to do all sorts of useful things, and then you find yourself working at something else because the money isn't there.

    Once you've set tax priorities then you can do is to do pretty much anything that is economically productive. Suppose you open up a pizza shop. If you've voted for congressmen that are interested in funding space elevator research, then a small fraction of every pizza you sell will go to funding space elevators.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  7. Aug 6, 2012 #6
    Until you Bio-engineer midichlorians that field still has so much potential.

    Seriously just support NASA and work in your field until you find a problem that is interesting. I'm quite sure that NASA hires Bio-engineers. In fact I think that there is link somewhere around here.

    There it is.

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/greenspace/bioengineering.html

    Hope that helps.
     
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