China calls on scientists to study ultra-large spacecraft

One of the largest spacecraft to ever go into orbit was the Space Shuttle, which has been retired for many years. The current generation spacecraft that carry astronauts into space are rather small, more like Apollo-era capsules than the space shuttle. In some ways, a massive spacecraft would make deep space travel easier to explore Mars and other objects of interest.

A massive spaceship has more room for fuel, food, and water for the crew exploring the cosmos. China’s National Natural Science Foundation calls on scientists to participate in a project that will span half a decade to study the mechanics of what it calls “an ultra-wide spacecraft spanning miles.” A massive spacecraft of this scale would be built in orbit because it would be unable to launch from the surface.

Presumably, the astronauts would leave Earth in something like current generation capsules and dock with the massive orbiting spacecraft before heading to their mission destination. China said the mission was part of an effort called the Major Strategic Aerospace Project. China says it would guarantee the future use of space resources and allow exploration of the mysteries of the universe.

A spacecraft built on this scale would be able to stay in orbit for long periods of time. Even the idea for the project sounds like something out of science fiction where we regularly see gigantic ships filled with gardens and living quarters that are essentially self-sufficient.

A strange aspect of the plan is that the budget is $ 2.3 million. The assumption is that the amount is for the feasibility study only. You couldn’t start building even a small capsule for that amount of money. It’s a safe bet that a multi-kilometer spacecraft would cost billions, if not billions of dollars.


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