Future Timelines

Speculative flings into the latent potential of humanity

Europa

  • 2018 - The Jupiter Europa Orbiter is funded by the ESA and NASA 
  • 2029 - The first photographs from JEO arrive on Earth
  • 2031 - A careful comparison of photographs from JEO and the Galileo mission shows a “bloom” developing on the surface that appears to be tectonic surface fracturing. Scientists use this to justify subsurface exploration of Europa. 
  • 2065 - The Europa Ocean Explorer, Naiad, touches down in the Conamara Chaos
  • 2066 - After melting through 11 km of ice, the Naiad reaches liquid water.  Transmission to the surface and back to Earth is maintained via fiber-optic cable.  
  • 2066 - The first IR photographs show the inside face of the Europan ice sheet as well as a peppering of “a sand-like substance” moving with convection currents.  A sample of the water gathered by the Naiad is magnified.  The sand is shown to be a macroscopic toroid cell sporting “tentacles” and is the first confirmed extra-terrestrial life.
  • 2067 - At a depth of 1.4km the Naiad captures a stark-white, many-tentacled creature the size of a baseball on video.  The video of the “Europan Octopus” is front-page news on every major news outlet worldwide.  
  • 2067 - The Naiad is engulfed by a swarm of curious octopuses and after several days their repeated proddings manage to disable it, ending the most successful space mission since the Moon Landing.  
  • 2070 - Europa is declared by the UN to be the first “Celestial Park”  Commercial exploration is permanently banned.
  • 2071 - “Origin” is added to the top of Biological Classification hierarchies. The Europan Octopus is given the species name Arachnus Prime Europa.
  • 2131 - The first living specimens of Europan life arrive on Earth.  The economy booms as every nation capable begins the race to space again.
  • 2165 - On the hundredth anniversary of the Europan mission the first permanent scientific outpost orbiting Europa is brought online with astrobiologists from Turkey, the US, Russia, India, and China.  Exhibits of Europan life go on display in Chicago, The Hague, Ankara, Moscow, Mumbai, and Shanghai.
  • 2205 - Unicellular life is discovered in caves on Titan.  

The Asteroid

  • 2020 - The first self-replicating 3-D printer is made.  
  • 2040 - Asteroid 2040AT4, subsequently named 2040 Vulcan is discovered. Preliminary analyses suggest that it contains unusually high concentrations of heavy metals.
  • 2041 - China, Russia, India, and the US announce a joint mission to bring a small asteroid into Earth orbit for mining as terrestrial resources for making advanced electronics dwindle.
  • 2047 - The first fusion power plant goes online.
  • 2052 - The Chinese vessel Tripitaka is launched to pull back the asteroid into geosynchronous orbit over Gabon. The mission will take 25 years.
  • 2071 - Violent protests are put down in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Odessa, Munich, and Mumbai as trepidation rises about a potential asteroid collision with Earth or more violent tides due to extra pull on the earth from the impending asteroid. 
  • 2077 - 2040 Vulcan is shunted into place over Gabon.  In a joint address to the UN General Assembly the presidents announce that the Earth now has two moons.
  • 2077 - Russia launches Ivanova, a rocket equipped with an asteroid lander containing autonomous miners and smelters.  The US simultaneously launches Einstein, a lander containing several self-replicating 3D printers, rovers, and networking equipment. 
  • 2078 - Internet uplink is established with Vulcan allowing engineers to control equipment from the ground. 
  • 2081 - 255 3D printers are established on mineral rich sites in the asteroid.  A so-called “mega-printer” is established on the part of the asteroid facing earth.   Extrusion of a space elevator begins.
  • 2083 - Printers are set on the task of building a second ship that will launch from space to bring back another asteroid.
  • 2090 - The Lewis and Clark leaves Vulcan to retrieve a second asteroid.
  • 2115 - The Lewis and Clark’s asteroid is in place over Ecuador.  It is seeded autonomously by equipment from Vulcan.  Work begins on a US-sponsored space elevator
  • 2150 - The Tian Shan (Vulcan) Space Elevator makes contact with the Earth.
  • 2153 - Ready-made electronics and machine tools arrive on Earth from the Vulcan.
  • 2181 - The first freeze-dried hydroponic mushrooms arrive on earth, proving that even farming can be carried out in space.
  • 2300 - Over a hundred asteroids are in orbit.  12 space elevators carry material in a steady stream down to Earth.  Recyclables are carried back up.  Raw materials are shot down by railgun, including He3 for fusion reactors.  Permanent human outposts are constructed in space by the equipment on the asteroids.  Third-world style poverty is entirely eradicated.  The world’s population is up to 93%  urban.
  • 2351 - The last mine on earth closes down.  With decreased environmental pressures brought on by fusion power and offworld mining, cybernetics, and paradigm changing medical advances, the average human lifespan around the world is “indeterminate”
  • 2400 - As many asteroids now orbit Mars as do Earth.  Asteroids are brought to Venus as well and terraforming begins on both worlds.   
  • 2721 - The population of Mars is 35 million.  Venus has 27 million people.  The first starship is built in Venutian orbit and will head for the nearest extrasolar Earth-like planet. The mission will take 121 years.

The Wiki

  • 2035 - A research group in Wales creates bacteria in the lab that form crystals which resonate with radio frequency.
  • 2041 - The same group demonstrates that they can modify a percentage of the glia in a mouse brain to resonate with RF, opening up the possibility for biological radio receivers.  These glia are dubbed “radiocytes” 
  • 2043 - Examining data, the researchers find proof that the mice can respond to RF as a sensory stimulus.
  • 2047 - Transgenic mice pass genes for creating radiocytes on to offspring.
  • 2059 - Researchers in India announce that they have a “grammar” of radio signals that mouse brains interpret as information.  At the same time they show that these signals are only perceived by the areas of the brain nearest the radio receivers.
  • 2060 - Radio transmitters are implanted in some of the mice.  Within 1 week, the implanted mice are communicating with each other using the grammar discovered by the Indian team.
  • 2112 - The first humans to be born with radiocytes enter school.
  • 2128 - The Wiki, a human exomemory, is born when a radiocytotic teenager discovers how to store and encode knowledge in an external repository.  
  • 2131 - Radiocytotic people connected to the Wiki begin spontaneously sleeping only 3 hours a night.  It is found that the presence of unlimited external storage radically improves the brain’s ability to reorganize and consolidate, reducing the need for sleep.
  • 2201 - 98% of humanity alive has either been born with radiocytes or has had them implanted through stem cell therapy.  Electronic devices can be controlled by a thought.  Experience, perception, and emotion can now be encoded in The Wiki as humanity refines its new abilities. No-one remembers what it’s like to not have the sum-total of humanity’s knowledge on hand.