The biggest barrier to future space exploration is in our heads

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With enough time, the technological challenges of sending humans to Mars and beyond are solvable. But psychologically, we’re not ready to leave our home.

In 1945 British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke—now best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey—correctly predicted the invention of satellites, the first of which launched into space in 1958. Then in 1963, Clarke predicted that a man would land on the moon and safely return to Earth sometime around the year 1970—which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did in the summer of 1969. In 1973, Clarke predicted a future where humans would be able to monitor outer-space threats such as asteroids and other near-earth objects—NASA established its Near-Earth Object Observations Program in 1998.

Much of what Clarke suggested about our future in outer space, however, has slipped further and further behind schedule in recent years. For example, he predicted commercial space flights by the year 2011 and a manned mission to Mars by 2021. He also spoke of a manned mission to Jupiter by 2099, which experts say looks pretty unlikely at this point.

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Arthur C. Clark Dies at Age 90

 Arthur C. Clark Dies at Age 90

Arthur C. Clark, science fiction author and most famously known for his work on “2001: A Space Odyssey” and his early forecast of communication satellites, died Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the age of 90.

Clark wrote nearly 100 books in his lifetime dealing mostly with the future of science and the idea that the destiny of the human race lied somewhere beyond the Earth. His writings shaped the way many people thought about science and technology and inspired a wide range of individuals ranging from scientific astronomer Carl Sagan to Gene Roddenberry with Star Trek.

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