Student Features

Starship 2040
Passenger Ticket to Starship 2040
Passenger Ticket to Starship 2040
Maybe you are traveling on an important business trip. Maybe you are going on a vacation. You have been planning it for a long time. First, you get on board the craft. Then, you find your seat. It is locked safely in the upright position. You buckle yourself in. Finally, it's time to leave. There's a "thump." As you push away, you feel the craft start to spin, and the antimatter drive kicks in. Next stop - Jupiter!

Welcome to Starship 2040. It is a mix of a lot of things. It is part airplane. It is part cruise ship. It is a whole lot of the future. Starship 2040 is a traveling display created at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. It is used to show what a "spaceliner" might be like 40 years from now. This may sound like science fiction. But, the exhibit is based on science.

Starship 2040 is the answer to a problem NASA had. How do you explain something that isn't real? It is hard to get people to understand the future. NASA decided to make a model. Starship 2040 shows what might happen. It is based on research being done by NASA.

The Entrance to the Starship 2040 Exhibit
Entrance to Starship 2040 Exhibit
Building the exhibit took a lot of imagination. The designers had to think how space travel will change in 40 years. NASA built the exhibit. But, it does not show a NASA spacecraft. Instead, it is like a plane used by airlines today.

There are loudspeakers in the exhibit. They let visitors listen to the crew of the spacecraft. The crew talks to computers. The computers talk back! Engineers think that starships will have a small crew. They think they will run mostly by computers. Even the "driving" will be done by computers.

Image of Starship 2040 Interior
Inside Starship 2040
The designers knew that students want to know how the ship flies. But students want to know more. A bathroom of the future is included. The model even has a small kitchen. It shows where passengers can get food, drinks, and snacks.

Sailing through the solar system isn't quick. People would spend a long time on the starship. They would have to stay in shape while in microgravity. People would use exercise equipment. If they did not, they might need help walking when they got back to Earth.

The exhibit is planned to help us understand how big space is. If we want to explore space, there will have to be new ways to travel.

Visitors are asked to think. How might things change in 40 years? Children are asked to imagine. Why would you travel through the solar system? This is important because a starship might happen that soon!
Monitoring Station Inside Starship 2040
Monitoring Station Inside Starship 2040
You can't buy tickets to Mars today. But, you know that scientists are working on the equipment. They are planning for you to take an out-of-this-world cruise. This might happen in the near future.

Published by NASAexplores