Sending craft out from the earth to explore space is an expensive proposition, and one of the most expensive parts of it is the rocket fuel needed to escape gravity. If we could set up a space station on the moon or on another planet (such as Mars) it would be much easier to escape gravity. It would be especially cost effective if we could manufacture the FUEL needed on that planet as well (and we're not talking about watermelon hooch, either)!
Scientists are working her on earth to develop just such a fuel and they think they've come up with one. It has the "consistency of toothpaste" and is less damaging to the environment. Made of aluminium powder and ordinary ice, it's known as Al-ice, or ALICE.
In the Register, Lewis Page quotes researcher Steven F. Son as saying, "Theoretically, ALICE can be manufactured in distant places like the moon or Mars, instead of being transported to distant locations at high cost." In the future, places like the moon or Mars may become the equivalent of what Atlanta is now: A "hub" to fly to where you can catch a plane to the places where, as space tourist, you really want to go.
Right now, most of us are stuck here on the ground, but that doesn't mean we can't go on delightful, magical journeys, like the star watch we're holding in the desert in October. Join us there: You never know who may show up!
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