Question Your World: What's Humanity's Next Transportation Breakthrough? | Community Idea Stations


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Question Your World: What's Humanity's Next Transportation Breakthrough?

Humans have been on the move since day one. Our history is built from various journeys and treks that have taken us to new places, enhanced our understanding of the world, and sharpened our technological savvy. As technology increases we'll find more efficient ways of exploring the world, including travel. What is humanity's next transportation breakthrough? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.

Let’s talk about trains, planes, and automobiles and space travel. Major breakthroughs in technology have helped us establish new standards in transportation. Initially we could count shoes, boats, the wheel, and chariots as some great ways that allowed humanity to go from our home in Africa to reaching nearly every distant spot on Earth. To make that travel more efficient we needed to upgrade our technology.

For example, the first steam engine designs from the early 1800’s changed how humanity traveled across large land masses. About a century later Bullet Trains began to move at hundreds of miles an hour and transport hundreds of millions of passengers every year. This is because technology builds on itself causing a series of steps that ultimately show the span of technological evolution.

Planes and Cars follow that story arch as well. The earliest attempts were breakthroughs and would quickly lead to more frequent and advanced versions. For example in 1903 Orville Wright was the only human to ever fly, but now nearly 8 million people take to the sky every single day. Cars have gone from being elementary hand cranked motors to some of the most advanced self-driving vehicles around!

Right now we're pretty good at traveling to just about any spot on Earth with relative frequency and ease. Especially compared to the old fashioned ways before we harnessed the capabilities of rail, flight, and personal automobiles. That's all good and well here on Earth, but how about space?

If humanity wants to truly become a space faring civilization we have to advance our technology. Luckily, Elon Musk and the lovely folks at SpaceX are getting us closer to that eventuality. In June of 2017, SpaceX was able to launch 2 rockets in under 48 hours. Keep in mind usually a single organization will have to plan big stretches before making frequent launches as a part of their regular operations. SpaceX has been making big waves in that regard based on the nine launches they've done in this year alone! Not only were these back to back launches, but these rockets are also reusable, meaning they can land, be reloaded, and up they go again. Thus allowing for a more frequent use of this technology. Similar to how we see trains, planes, and automobiles right now. This comes as no surprise since humanity has always been interested in getting around. From the first footsteps in Africa to planning the first footsteps on Mars.

Pretty awesome.