Human spaceflight

Built of sheet aluminum for ductility, corrosion resistance and UV-stability. A spacecraft has to provide shelter, water, food, fuel, waste management, clothing, fresh air, sunlight, gravity, temperature control, humidity control and protection from the elements (natural disasters, pressure differential & radiation).
3D metal printer. Instead of hauling countless unnecessary spare parts. A layer of metal powder spread evenly over the surface, a torch only welds powder in specific places.

3D metal printer. Instead of hauling countless unnecessary spare parts. A layer of metal powder spread evenly over the surface, a torch only welds powder in specific places.

Inflatable airship for planet exploration.   Inflatable cells stored around the rocket engine are inflated to turn spacecraft into a propeller-driven airship, powered by photovoltaic panels.

Inflatable airship for planet exploration. Inflatable cells stored around the rocket engine are inflated to turn spacecraft into a propeller-driven airship, powered by photovoltaic panels.

Buoyant and uprighting spacecraft design allows water landings.

Buoyant and uprighting spacecraft design allows water landings.

Kevlar parachutes deployed shortly before landing.

Kevlar parachutes deployed shortly before landing.

Heat shield and shock absorption pad in one. (valve controls which of the two)

Heat shield and shock absorption pad in one. (valve controls which of the two)

The spacecraft is then placed on a trajectory to Mars, accelerated to high speed by rocket engine, then left to coast until it reaches the planet.

The spacecraft is then placed on a trajectory to Mars, accelerated to high speed by rocket engine, then left to coast until it reaches the planet.

High-altitude, reflective hydrogen balloon carries spacecraft to a height of 55 km. At peak altitude, spacecraft detaches from balloon to go into a short free fall, during which the balloon self-destructs by deflagration and the spacecraft rocket engine is initiated.

High-altitude, reflective hydrogen balloon carries spacecraft to a height of 55 km. At peak altitude, spacecraft detaches from balloon to go into a short free fall, during which the balloon self-destructs by deflagration and the spacecraft rocket engine is initiated.

A heat- and radiation shield. The sun transmits heat on Earth mostly by warming the atmosphere, and we experience that heat by convection, like a turkey in the oven. In space direct impact from radiation transfers heat, like a dish warmed in a microwave. As a result, keeping instrumentation cold is less about insulation than about reflection, and gold has some very desirable qualities in this regard. We still need to add insulation for planet exploration.

A heat- and radiation shield. The sun transmits heat on Earth mostly by warming the atmosphere, and we experience that heat by convection, like a turkey in the oven. In space direct impact from radiation transfers heat, like a dish warmed in a microwave. As a result, keeping instrumentation cold is less about insulation than about reflection, and gold has some very desirable qualities in this regard. We still need to add insulation for planet exploration.

Electrical resistance heater (just in case)

Electrical resistance heater (just in case)

structural condition and collect temperature, pressure and radiation data.

structural condition and collect temperature, pressure and radiation data.

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