Modern Scientist Predictions Merton E. Davies

About the predictions both right and wrong of modern scientist Merton E. Davies including ones on space travel, colonies on Mars and the moon.



Davies is a space scientist engaged in photo-grammetrical studies of the planets at the Rand Corporation. As a member of the television science teams of the Mariner 6, 7, 9, and 10 missions, he has helped map Mars and Mercury by computing the coordinates of surface features observed on the returned photographs. He is also a member of the television team of the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. He coauthored with Bruce Murray a book entitled The View from Space: Photographic Exploration of the Planets.

Past Predictions: Right--Davies predicted in 1973 that in the next 100 years we would use robots and camera equipment to explore space. His time-span estimate was overgenerous; in 1976 the JPL robot sent back to earth pictures of Mars taken from the planet's surface.

Future Predictions: For 2000-2050

* Although the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. are now the only nations exploring the major bodies of the solar system, additional nations will participate in this exciting endeavor. By the year 2000, all of the surfaces of the major planets and satellites will have been initially explored and mapped.

* The first permanent manned lunar base will be operational by 2000, and the first lunar city will be established by 2040.

* Mars will be the first planet to be colonized. Modifications will be made in the composition of its atmosphere and perhaps also in its pressure, to make the environment more congenial to human physical requirements. The first manned landing on Mars may well take place before 2010; the first permanently manned base there will be established by 2040, and the first city by 2060.

* By 2050, advances in nuclear fusion power plants will lead to the development of inexpensive rockets for space travel, permitting long journeys throughout the solar system. When that time comes, people will take vacations in space and visit lunar cities.

* Although intelligent life will not be found in the solar system, initial communication with advanced civilizations inhabiting planets orbiting distant stars will occur before 2030. Because the stars are so far away, it will take years for a message to arrive at the earth; thus the dialogue will be slow, and it will be 30 to 50 years after the first contact before the two civilizations begin to understand each other's life form, life-style, and government.

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