THE US Space Force will one day send humans into space and could set up its own Moon base staffed by robots, a US General has confirmed.
Speaking at an Air Force conference on Tuesday, US Space Command leader John Shaw said that he sees space soldiers as part of the military’s future plans.
"At some point, yes, we will be putting humans into space," Shaw told virtual attendees at the AFWERX Engage Space Conference, C4ISRNET reports.
"They may be operating a command centre somewhere in the lunar environment or someplace else that we are continuing to operate architecture that is largely autonomous."
The comments come days after the US Space Force – a new military branch dedicated to space warfare – partnerned with Nasa on several objectives including human spaceflight and planetary defence.
Maj. Gen. Shaw admitted that while Space Force hopes to put troops in orbit, that day is a long way off.
He gave two reasons for this, including that robots may be better placed for space missions of the future.
“First, space isn’t really all that habitable for humans. We’ve learned that since our early space days,” Shaw said.
“And the second is, we’re getting darned good at this robotics thing in space.”
He added: "The best robots that humans have ever created are probably satellites, either ones that explore other planets, or operated within our own Earth moon system."
Rather than sending troops up to man a Moon base, it's much more likely that automated machines will keep the outpost ticking along.
"We’re going to have an awful lot of automated and autonomous systems operating in earth and lunar orbit and solar orbit in the days and years to come doing national security space activity," Shaw said.
Terrifying space weapons of the future
Here are three of the scariest…
Rods from God
- A strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed "rods from the God" and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.
- Instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are deployed.
- These would be made out of tungsten — a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth's atmosphere.
- One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth's atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.
- Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon — but crucially creating no radiation fall out.
- As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report recently revealed the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.
Molten metal cannons
- This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
- It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.
- This game changing rail-gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.
- The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside.
Space force ships
- Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.
- The top secret American XS-1 under development by DARPA.
- It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.
- Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.
The Space Force was officially established in December 2019 and is the first new military service since the Air Force launched in 1947.
The 16,000 airmen and civilians that make up the Space Force are technically part of the Air Force — which previously oversaw offensive operations in space.
But US President Donald Trump has made it clear he sees the newest service as critical to the future of American defence.
The Space Force announced in May that it is building an elite squad of "lethal" astronaut soldiers in "orbital warfare".
The cadre of space warfighters will protect U.S. interests in space and "deter aggression in, from and to space", Space Combat Training Squadron commander Lt. Col. Daniel Sebeck said.
It's not entirely clear what threats the troops are being trained to neutralise.
One possibility is satellites or other spacecraft designed to take out US spy probes in Earth's orbit.
In other news, astronauts on board the International Space Station were this week woken up in the middle of the night to search for a major air leak.
Nasa has finally set a date for its first proper crewed flight from US soil aboard a SpaceX rocket.
And, SpaceX blew up a Starship rocket tank on purpose last week during a dramatic "pressure test".
What do you think of the Space Force plans? Let us know in the comments!
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