A new plan concocted by scientists and researchers at Delft University of Technology aims to take the center of hollowed-out asteroids and use these as the setting for what would be massive starships holding different generations of space travelers as they explore other solar systems.
The researchers have recently christened the new venture as the Evolving Asteroid Starship, and called themselves the TU Delft Starship Team, or DSTART, according to Phys.org.
In their search for the perfect vehicle for interstellar travel, the team is looking at taking an asteroid that has been completely hollowed out and using this as a new home for would-be voyagers.
As DSTART’s Angelo Vermeulen explained, the inside of an asteroid could very well be the key to holding the kind of life support system capable of sustaining many generations of space travelers.
“We need self-sustaining and evolvable space technology capable of enduring the many decades needed to journey from our Solar System to another. As part of that, we are looking at the kind of regenerative life support system pioneered by the ESA-led MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) program.”
A video which shows how this radical new technology could work shows numerous rockets hooked up to the asteroid, which would enable the person in charge of controlling the spaceship to easily control its movement.
— Outer Places (@outerplaces) April 27, 2018
Since traveling beyond our own solar system and venturing into others could take up to a century, and at the very least decades, the idea of a hollowed-out asteroid could quite possibly hold the key to self-sufficient space travel, with these starships containing their own mini cities inside of them.
According to DSTART, these starships need to be objects that act just like other organisms do, as the Daily Mail report.
“A starship therefore also needs to be capable of evolving. After all, returning to earth to tackle problems, as we saw during the subsequent missions towards the moon, is out of the question. The ship needs to be able to behave like a living organism that uses raw materials available in space, such as asteroids. These can be exploited for fuel and building materials, for example.”
It is hoped that these unique starships will be able to take carbon dioxide, along with natural waste, and turn these into food, water, and oxygen, all crucial things when the survival of the humans inside is at stake.
Researchers at DSTART will be unveiling their very first computer simulation of the hollowed-out asteroid starship at Rome’s AgroSpace-MELiSSA workshop next month.