This week, I noticed a little short science piece. There are a couple of guys who've sat down and sipped enough beer and discussed rocket-science to such a degree.....that they feel confident enough that they could design a rocket-engine that would allow space travel up to roughly 70,000 miles per hour.
You can do the math, but it basically means that we could leave Earth's orbit on 1 March, and pass Pluto around the 25 of April....more or less. That would shock some folks and start the wheels to turning on radical space exploration.
But there is this hitch to the story. They only think this, but haven't sat down to design the engine, or for that matter.....discuss the scope of the design. So, they want some government or university funding to reach this big first initial step. Basically.....a lot of beer money, but certainly not enough to afford some Air Force jet or buy a fleet of Tesla cars.
Here's the thing. If they did this analysis and came to the conclusion.....some basic design ideas and then went into a lab for three years.....I'm pretty sure they would emerge with test engine number one. It might fail....it might succeed. But it would lay out the groundwork for a real engine within a dozen years.
Then you'd have to build some pretty dense ship to protect the engine, and figure out if you went AI (artificial intelligence robots) or human for the crew.
On general planning, you'd be talking about a ship making this Earth to Pluto run within twenty years. Leaving this system? Maybe twenty-five years.
You can figure by 2100....eighty-four years away, that we will have explored at least a hundred planets beyond this system. Chance of bumping into some plant and animal life? Unknown. But the odds are that you will find at least two or three Earths beyond this system, with some plants and critters.
One might as far as predicting that a million humans having volunteered from 2100 to 2200 to relocate and colonize beyond the Earth. All of this? Dependent on a couple of rocket-science guys and this weird idea of an engine that goes 70,000 miles per hour.