Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar hit cinemas a few weeks back and though the movie was well received,it left many confounded. The possibilities of extra terrestrial activity in our universe and the flawed physics of the movie occupied everyone’s thoughts. And if you could try to link the premise of the movie and a huge change in the spaceflight industry, then a question will rise in your mind. Space exploration and spaceflight is not NASA’S cup of tea anymore. They have competition coming their way.
The international space community has opened its arms to welcome private pioneers in the spaceflight and aerospace aviation sector. International players like Bigelow, SapceX to Richard Brandson’s Virgin Galactic have begun work both operational and in progress on spaceflight and missions. Companies have taken up projects as ambitious as sending space stations beyond the stratosphere. Bigelow Aerospace’s Genesis I and II are now operational and orbiting the earth in a Low earth Orbital. And SpaceX has five functional reusable spacecrafts that act as cargo variants and they were the first to be attached with the International Space Station. And the catch among every player’s operational race is the key idea of “Passenger Spaceflight” and “Space Colonization”. The idea of space colonization is still a small seed compared to the other aspects of private spaceflight; passenger spaceflight will soon be a living dream for many people. Virgin Galactic’s already functional, Whiteknight II and Spaceship II are running successful test runs, the first commercial runs will happen towards the end of this year. Yes! The VSS Enterprise flight ended in tragedy, but these things tend to happen during the development of an idea. But the crux of the entire idea is the fact that passenger spaceflight is the key to successful space colonization.
Now, we have got two interdependent ideas and a science fiction movie which puts a question in our head: Is Interstellar travel a reality or something that will stop with the imagination of film directors? The amount of physics that comes at us during the course of the film will throw us off our seats. Let us not delve into that aspect since the theories may or may not be correct. But like a seed to a plant, all the possibilities of human beings living on another planet or in outer space are slowly blooming to reality. The Mars One mission is at its early stages of astronaut assessment and testing. Very soon we might set foot on Mars. And No, this time Stanley Kubrick won’t be there to create exact sets. This time it is for real. At that moment we will have the chances of Miss Universe being the inhabitant of another planet.
This brings us back to Interstellar (the film). The protagonist’s sole fight was and is to save the people on earth and not start a colony in space with cryogenic wombs. He intends to save maximum number of people from earth and travel into outer space where planets with similar survival conditions exist. With the idea of the Mars colonization and the passenger spaceflight within human reach now, we wonder why these ideas came up in the first place. This is not the idea of some rich James Bond villain who wants universal dominion. This is more than just the whim of some business person or a scientist. This is imminent reality. We do not and cannot fathom the idea of the future of the human race now. We may be here, we may not. And Interstellar will not be a mere movie then. “Maybe mankind wasn’t meant to save the earth. It was meant to leave it.” – Interstellar.