50th anniversary of human’s journey into outer space

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin [wiki] became the first human being to journey into outer space, and also the first to orbit the earth, on April 12, 1961.

Yuri Gagarin first human being in space

UAE ready to fuel space tourism

UAE space travelUAE investors is looking towards space for investments as the $7.5 billion USD space tourism industry is set to take off.

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) and US-based Bigelow Aerospace recently signed a memorandum to establish a commercial human space flight programme for Dubai and the UAE.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which is partly owned by Abu Dhabi based Aabar, also plans to bring space tourism to the United Arab Emirates by building a space port in Abu Dhabi as soon as it gets approvals from US authorities.

At the moment the cost of a return ticket to outer space for the first flights is between $95,000 and $200,000, depending on the flight provider, but these prices are expected to fall as capacity increases. Some experts estimate that the typical price to fly into space by 2030 will be around $25,000. More on Gulfnews.

Japan’s Ikaros solar sail flew by Venus

The IKAROS solar sail which was deployed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in June 2011 has flew by Venus on December 8, marking the success of the world’s first demonstration of a solar power sail in space.

Japan IKAROS solar sail mission sequence

As its name indicates (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun), IKAROS is a kite-like spacecraft which is powered by radiation pressure in interplanetary space – a method which will be useful for future space exploration within the solar system in many ways, and with possibility of doing things at much lower cost.

Space Battleship Yamato (2010) movie trailer

Japanese trailer for Space Battleship Yamato, starring Kimura Takuya, Meisa Kuroki and Tsutomu Yamazaki etc. The movie will premiere on December 1.

Based on the iconic anime franchise, the story is set in year 2199 where earth is under siege by “foreign” invaders and is facing destruction due to radioactive warfare. And the Space Battleship Yamato is human race’s last hope of survival.

The time-line fits well with renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking’s prediction that our planet could face extinction in two centuries, and that humans must move to space to survive. Perhaps he was a fan of the original anime series lol.

Stephen Hawking: humans must move to space

Astrophysicist Stephen HawkingRenowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said that the long term future of human race must be in space, and we must move to outer space within the next two centuries or could face extinction.

Visit Bigthink for the full audio and transcript.

With all the natural and human-caused disasters in recent years, lots of us do share some concern as of when our world is going to end, but there’s rarely anyone who’s bold (and authoritative) enough to suggest a deadline.

Space is our future, we all know that. The urgency which Hawking suggested is a bit depressing, but technology wise I think human race could have the capability to live in outer space by then. Let’s just hope that the earth and mankind could survive at least as long as what Hawking has predicted.