Living in the midst of a once in a century, a worldwide pandemic brings to mind the line from Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds. “This is not the 21st Century that I was promised.” Indeed, spending days and weeks staying at home, practicing social isolation can cause one to despair for the future.
However, in the midst of the pandemic, while researchers are scrambling to concoct new tests, treatments, and ultimately a vaccine that will end the coronavirus pandemic, some people are working on technologies that sound more like the 21st Century that many people of a certain age were promised decades ago. Fusion energy, age reversal, and Elon Musk’s rocket ship are some of the wonders that may come to pass after the pandemic.
Fusion energy, which consists of bringing down the power of the sun to the Earth and creating limitless energy, has been in the works for decades. A joke exists that fusion is 30 years away and always will be, so difficult the technology has been to develop.
However, a recent article in Forbes suggests that some progress is being made.
“A report released earlier this month outlines steps that the United States can take to become closer to obtaining a commercially-feasible source of fusion power. The report, authored by 300 researchers, hopes to align the fusion community to realize this goal. The question that remains – is fusion the answer to our globe’s energy needs?”
The answer to that question seems to be an emphatic yes. At the core of the recommendations from the report is to create a pilot fusion plant that creates more energy than it takes to maintain the fusion reaction. Such proof of concept would demonstrate that commercial fusion power is possible. It also means that the world can address the problem of carbon dioxide climate change without resorting to the draconian Green New Deal.
Both life span and something called healthspan have been steadily increasing during the past century or so, mainly because of a better diet and the conquering of diseases that used to fell, people, in their prime. People who may have died in their sixties are living, in many cases, well into their eighties.
The Next Big Future describes an emerging technology that can literally cause a person to have youth and vigor to be restored, a kind of technological fountain of youth. Mouse studies suggest that stem cells can be extracted from a human body, subjected to a rejuvenating protein treatment, and then implanted back in the body to restore youthful strength.
The idea that a human body can be “reset” to a younger age has implications for the treatment of disease, including the coronavirus. Young people are less prone to come down with serious, life-threatening diseases. A treatment that restores youth and vigor will strengthen people against disease as well as extend lifespans to unprecedented lengths.
Finally, the efforts of Elon Musk’s SpaceX to create the Starship rocket that promises to revolutionize space travel proceeds apace, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The idea is to build a two-stage, reusable rocket that, with in-space refueling, can deliver 100 tons of people and supplies to the moon and Mars. Such a spacecraft would enable the building of lunar bases and Elon Musk’s long dreamed of Mars colony.
Space.Com explains the recent developments at the SpaceX facility at Boca Chica, Texas, that involve the stacking of a prototype rocket called the SN3.
“SN3 is short for Serial No. 3; the prototype is the third iteration of the latest Starship design. Completion of the stacking milestone suggests that SpaceX, which has been moving very quickly on the Starship project, will begin testing the vehicle soon. Such testing will begin with pressure trials, which have felled other Starship prototypes But if the SN3 makes it through that gauntlet, it will likely get to spread its wings. Musk has said he aims to conduct short flights in Earth’s atmosphere with the SN3, then fly higher and longer test missions with the SN4.”
Long after the coronavirus pandemic is a bitter memory, which old people will tell stories of the bore the grandkids, a future that involves limitless fusion energy, long healthy lifespans, and space travel as common as air travel has been, is entirely possible. People are working to make that future happen, providing hope for everyone now living in the age of the coronavirus.