12-27-17 / 7:25 AM / A SPACE MISSION FOR 2069.

The Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood from the Dell Small Business Studios.

If you want to go into space, you have to do a lot of planning – many years in advance.

That is why NASA is making plans now for a trip into space in 2069.

It’s tricky – because some of the technology that will be needed hasn’t been invented yet.

The story after this…

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From the early days of our attempts to get off our planet…

( NAT / Rocket Launch )

… planning has been key.

To get into space, you can’t just launch a rocket and hope for the best. Every detail – from the overall voyage itself to the tiniest bolt on rocket ship – has to be taken into account.

That’s why NASA is working on a mission into interstellar space that could launch – not next year or even in the next decade – but in the year 2069. That’s the 100th anniversary of the first moon landing. The goal would be to search for life outside our solar system in in the Alpha Centauri system, which is nearly four-and-a-half light years away.

But here’s the really challenging part: some of the technology that will be needed doesn’t even exist yet. For one thing, it would need to travel at least ten percent of the speed of light. We’re nowhere near that yet. But engineers are betting we will be soon.

To get there, NASA is thinking about a plan to send tiny probes powered by lasers – which, in theory, could reach a quarter of the speed of light. They are also considering nuclear reactions – or even the power of collisions between matter and anti-matter.

Right now, the only spacecraft that we humans have made which has left our solar system is Voyager 1 – which is now nearly 12 billion miles from Earth.

With luck – and a lot of planning – it could have some company in 2069.

The Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood – and I’ll see you right here on the radio.