This year has been fantastic for technology that makes the coming century look bright for us humans.
Several different laboratories from Germany to the UK, from the USA to China have verified there is a thrust output from the EM Drive. A reactionless drive that seems to violate the known laws of physics. Known being the key word, because we clearly know so little. The Large Hadron Collider, for example, just discovered 5 new particles they need to explain. What do I see in this? The promise of my own Millennium Falcon if aging is brought under control before I buy the farm.
The really cool thing is I expect these EM Drives being tested are the equivalent of the first steam driven cars in the late 1800s. A hundred years from now we’ll probably have the equivalent of Indy car reactionless drives.
The next really cool technology this year is the development of DNA repair processes, something that will be critical to long term space travel. The radiation of deep space will eat us alive if we’re out there too long, unless we can repair the damage as it occurs. The Apollo astronauts noticed this radiation as flashes in their eyes as cosmic rays penetrated their retinas. So not only do we have the engines to get us to Jupiter in a reasonable time, we have the drug/medical technology to keep us healthy on our way there and once we’re in the radiation filled environment of Jupiter itself.
The third really cool announcement is from Lockheed Martin, which has said that they are 10 years away from producing a new type of fusion power plant that is revolutionary. Revolutionary in that it can sustain immense reaction pressures as well as not take up much space. I’d say that’s a critical design standard for spacecraft, because you’re going to want the lightest, most compact, most powerful reactor you can get to power your EM Drives and magnetic field generators that reduce your radiation dosage.