At the historical stage when the masters of such expressive expressions lived, to move forward, it was necessary to overcome the sea. Then we had to overcome a great deal in order to reach new and new levels of development. And today, the modern analogue of the sea, on which it is necessary to float, is space for us, the Universe. We settled comfortably in the small harbor of the great cosmos on our beautiful Earth. Got burned, adapted it for themselves. Not always carefully, in a businesslike manner. Yes, and we live something not very amicably. But this is another topic. We live on the shore of the universe. We learned how to make small voyages in the zone closest to Earth. Literally off the coastline. And then - the vast expanses. Fundamentally, the situation is very similar to the situation since the formation of the sentence given at the beginning.
Looking from the shore into the unknown, decorated with all sorts of speculation and legends, and the awareness of the need to begin the path. It seems to us today that we already know a lot about the Universe, but the fact that its 96 percent is dark (that is, unknown) energy and dark matter indicates that our knowledge is incomplete. We must move on. "It is necessary to swim in the sea ..." Otherwise, most of the creative potential will be locked up with equally harmful future improvements. weapons and entertainment. Without great goals, the world will slide into barbarism. With iPads in hand.
So on what we float on the sea? Alas, the possibilities are not rich. 54 a year ago, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite. Four years later, only four years, Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin saw the Earth from space. Only eight years passed and Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. Awesome, incredibly cool line of development of human capabilities. If it were to extend it at the same angle to our time - 43, from the last mentioned event, then on Mars the apple trees would have to bear fruit. But alas, this curve has become almost horizontal. The possibilities of humanity in this area began to develop very slowly. Have people become more stupid than strong figures? No, the scientific and industrial foundation, built by that time by the common efforts of all countries, was fully mastered. On it, due to the flash of high space activity, a certain superstructure was created, however, it did not lead to a qualitatively new technological era.
In the Kondratieff theory of technological waves, the third — from 1875 of the year — denotes the era of steel, electricity and heavy industry, the fourth — from 1908 of the year — the era of oil, automobile and mass production, the fifth — from 1971 of the year - the era of information and telecommunications. All in anticipation of the sixth wave - the era, or bio, or nanotech, or new energy, or complete greening of the industry.
Having developed the groundwork for the third, fourth and fifth technological waves for their needs, the space industry did not initiate a new one. Not at all that scale. With all the big public sound, especially in the recent past, with an annual contribution, for example, in Russia at a cost of tens of kilometers of Moscow roads, there is no reason to seriously influence the global economy. And space technologies are either almost frozen, as with rocket engines, or, at best, they are pursuing technologies from other, more dynamic areas.
Of course, the results of applied space activities are most actively used just within the framework of the information and telecommunications era. Due to its needs, an impressive increase in the characteristics of spacecraft has been achieved, providing observation of the Earth in various spectra. Created in addition to the magnetic and gravitational man-made navigation field of the Earth. The power of on-board repeaters has grown by an order of magnitude over the last quarter of a century, which made it possible to achieve enormous information transfer rates. True, Arthur Clark sarcastically, but very aptly remarked: "The more perfect the technique of transmitting information, the more ordinary, vulgar, gray its content becomes." But this is again not the topic of this article.
So, the society required the development of the characteristics of the applied spacecraft and it received it. Did you need a flight to other planets and the technology did not develop? No, the situation is somewhat more complicated. Within the framework of known physical laws, the level of development of rocket-space technology is close to the limit. Chemical fuels provide characteristics close to the theoretical limit. Strength of materials, too. At least until a long thread is woven from nanotubes. Of course, by improving production processes and optimizing the design, it is possible and necessary to reduce the cost, but there is no fundamental improvement in technical characteristics. And when earthlings with a great voltage of resources still get to Mars, they will cover a distance of only a few dozen light minutes. In the works on cosmology, kilo, mega, gigaparseki appear.
One parsec is three light years. Within the framework of the known physical laws, all this is unattainable in principle. Closing the dream of humanity? No, we focus on intensive research that advances progress in a number of areas.
Know the universe
The first direction is the development of fundamental knowledge about the basics of the universe. The fact that all physical laws known to man are uniquely applicable only to four percent of the Universe gives hope for the existence of still unknown laws. Perhaps this is similar to the situation of the XVII – XVIII centuries, when the laws of mechanics were known and the knowledge was developed, which finally allowed to formulate the laws of the electric world. And life has become completely different, incredible from the point of view of the century of mechanics. Along with research in the field of elementary particle physics (everyone knows about the Large Hadron Collider), astrophysical research with the help of telescopes carried out in different parts of the spectrum are of great importance. The Soviet Union made a significant contribution to the deployment of such works. Astron space observatories, Granat in the 80 of the XX century made a real breakthrough. Outstanding, sensational results have long been among the most quoted.
Nowadays, the Hubble telescope with a mirror with a diameter of 2,4 meters is widely known. Repeatedly repaired directly in orbit, he is still pleased with interesting results, and a new telescope, James Webb, is being prepared for his replacement. The Russian Spectr-R telescope or the Radiastron has been operating for almost a year now. With a high-precision antenna with a diameter of ten meters and ultra-sensitive receivers, it rotates around the Earth at an altitude of 300 thousands of kilometers and when combined with numerous ground-based radio telescopes it forms a virtual telescope of the size 300 thousands of kilometers. Hence the unprecedented resolution. Already obtained data on the internal structure of the object, located in five billion (billions) light years.
We looked into the incredible distance, but also into the deep past of the universe. There are very beautiful scientific hypotheses about the big bang, black holes, wormholes and tunnels in spacetime. There is an accumulation of data. A complete understanding of the processes of formation of the Universe, its evolution, the nature of matter, energy, gravity, time is somewhere ahead. Humanity, perhaps in ten, maybe in a hundred years, but it is necessary to pass this way. So, you need to create more advanced space tools - serviced and unattended in different orbits and on the surface of the moon.
In a cozy cradle
The second area of effort is a complete understanding of all the processes of formation and evolution of the solar system. This is necessary to predict the future of our planet.
Why one of the neighboring planets is a sandy desert with dust storms up to 20 kilometers and only traces of oxygen in a very rarefied cold atmosphere? Why is the second, a neighbor, an acid hell with a temperature of almost five hundred degrees and a pressure around 90 atmospheres? Is there any other form of life in the solar system? And if it was, then why? Answers to these and similar questions are important for determining the correct strategy for the survival of humanity on Earth. At least until the power of the person expands and there is a real possibility of moving to another place of residence.
And now we must do our best to protect our only green planet. To give answers to the questions posed, one must be able to visit any bodies within the Solar System, including asteroids. The Soviet Union occupied a worthy place in the development of interplanetary technology. By the end of the 70-s of the XX century, 58 launches to the Moon were completed, 29 of them completed their task. Including ground delivered three times. The USA in the same period made 39 starts (including nine manned). Effective can be considered 22 mission. By Venus, 80 of the Soviet missions were launched by the end of the 29-s, 15 of which are successful. The United States limited itself to nine attempts, of which eight were successful.
Then there was a long pause in the activity of the Soviet Union and Russia, and now domestic automatic apparatuses need to regain the ability to reach, sit down, work on the surface of various celestial bodies and come back. Starting from the moon. Especially considering the new facts about the presence of ice at the poles. In addition, there is a version that this ice was deposited over billions of years by comets, including, perhaps, from other galaxies. That is, we were already delivered almost to the house a particle of other, very distant worlds. Mars, Venus, the satellites of Jupiter, asteroids of the Apophis type and, of course, the Sun (but without landing) are the goals of the automaton researchers, ensuring the virtual human presence in all parts of the Solar System. Somewhere in a more distant future, it is also possible for a person to directly participate in interplanetary missions, but only with a clear awareness of the appropriateness of risks and costs.
Innovations in science and technology
The third line of effort. To return to space technology the role of the engine of technological progress within the framework of the existing technological wave. And for this task should be set bold and ambitious. For example, there is a need to conduct long-term studies on the surface of the very interesting satellite of Jupiter - Europe. Ice and water were found there. Maybe there is life. But if in modern traditions to assemble a space reconnaissance aircraft from existing technical solutions, then the problem is not solved in principle - extremely high radiation. And the program of the European Space Agency is being developed from the cute name Europe to Ganymede, another satellite of Jupiter. Less interesting, but more affordable.
Now this is also the most difficult program can be implemented, but the impact on technical progress will be limited. But if all the same to Europe? On new solutions, for example, on the basis of the principles of electronic vacuum technology, the nature of plants or whatever it is, create completely unique devices that are absolutely resistant to radiation. Long way, dear, but one more step on the way of expanding the arsenal of opportunities.
Or a much more urgent task for space technology is the cleaning of near-Earth space from debris. It is time to make laws on the duty of each launching a new device to deduct from the orbit the same amount of old fragments by mass. Quickly and without fantasy, the problem can be solved today. We start the maneuvering device with the necessary fuel supply, we join with the passive object and transfer it to the flooding orbit. Everything is solved, but in the general case it will cost much more than launching a device of the same mass. And from the point of view of ecology, all these unnecessary launches and flooding are completely useless. Yes, and on technical progress, the impact is small. The alternative is to start creating something fundamentally new. A monster captures debris, decomposes into its constituent molecules, some use it as a working fluid to fly to the next object, and another part, according to the principle of operation of an 3D printer, turns it into elements of a new space station. After all, the materials in the remains of the satellites are the most remarkable and have already been delivered into orbit. Fantasy? Today, yes. The movement towards this goal will move both science and technology forward. But the goals were shredded, for which the bustling momentary humanity is waving, and money is pitiful.
Miracles do not happen
In the end, I will try to formulate the following thought. In common space activities, it is advisable to clearly separate the two areas. The first is the use of space or its operation for application purposes: communications, navigation, remote sensing of the Earth. Production of spacecraft for these needs is a typical industrial activity. In the market conditions for the conquest of the customer it is necessary to produce a mass product with the lowest cost, the best consumer characteristics and as soon as possible. For this, unification, the application of proven solutions with their constant evolutionary improvement, the smooth running and non-redundancy of all processes and resources used are extremely important. This area, as well as the field of mass launch vehicles, is well commercialized.
The second field of space activity is not commercialized at all, which was mainly discussed above. It can be called the scientific cosmos, deep space, the fundamental cosmos. The essence of this does not change. Within the framework of this direction, each mission is aimed at achieving a new level of knowledge development, a fundamentally new level of technology. Along with the maximum possible use of the solutions developed in the applied space, each project has to apply unique technologies and specific equipment. This area is characterized by a large degree of uncertainty, leading to increased risks in terms of time, costs, and the results of the mission. The real effect of such projects can manifest itself in many years. For successful activity in this area, it is extremely important to use the rules of organization, financing and evaluation of results that are significantly different from those in the applied space. This area of space activity is completely dependent on the willingness of the state to invest resources in efforts to move humanity forward.
Russia, given its bright space history and far from being today's zero level, it may well be a worthy participant in this avant-garde movement. True, if you calculate the cost of space over the past 20 years in the United States, taking into account the resources of other departments, apart from NASA, it becomes clear that they exceed Russian costs tenfold. But as soon as a noticeable lag in the results of the activities of the Russian space industry from the American level is found, immediately there are reasons: sloppiness, weak leaders and so on and so forth.
Ineradicable in Russia faith in a miracle. Fairy tales are probably to blame. Ilya Muromets lay on the stove for thirty years and three years without any investment in his development, and then he got up and won all of them. Wonderful. All this would be funny if it were not so sad.
Of course, there is an acute need for improvements in the industry and in terms of the structure and organization of work, the introduction of a modern quality management system, the involvement of promising specialists and mobile private structures, but given the awareness of most of our society of the importance of Russian positions in space, manifested in a very painful perception of every failure , we are simply doomed to be a great space power. And that means that they must not only allocate substantial resources for this, but use them to the maximum to achieve worthy goals. Space without us will always exist, we practically have no chance without it. Navigare necesse ...