May 30, 2024

Dawn of a New Space Race

The thrill of space exploration and travel is not over. Recently the motivation of deep space travel and exploration has shifted from research and discovery to economics. This next economical and commercial phase is mindboggling and exciting, as plans are being made to make humans an interplanetary species, to mine space resources and to initiate space tourism.

This space industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry (US$329 billion in 2016) and is estimated to develop into a trillion dollar economy by 2040. This industry has attracted a lot of media attention and interest and investments from many private companies and famous billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson who have poured billions of dollars into the promising opportunities this industries has to provide.

NEXT STOP: MARS

I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.

~ Elon Musk

Earth is doomed to perish. This is a fact, a fact that science and religion both support. Science has global warming as its proof of the beginning of the end and religion has the Bible (Isaiah 24) — “The Lord is going to completely destroy everything on earth” .

Although the possibility of a manned mission to Mars has been in discussion since the 1950s, Elon Musk is the first and only person who comes to everyone’s mind when we think about this red planet. Musk a serial entrepreneur, innovator, visionary and the member of the 3 comma club founded SpaceX because he was frustrated by the amount of time Nasa was taking to fly a human mission to Mars, forget about building a settlement there. His obsession to build a Martian colony got fast-tracked when experts warned that climate change could lead to a catastrophe on this planet far quicker, and bigger, than feared, making Earth inhabitable.

Musk is not the only visionary preparing to vacate this blue planet and make humans a multi-planetary species. Jeff Bezos, tech billionaire and entrepreneur, and his company Blue Origin are building New Glenn, a humungous re-usable rocket, to send satellites and humans beyond Earth’s orbit into space, Moon and Mars. Bezos told Wired magazine in an interview, “Earth is destined to run out of resources…Humans need a Plan B” .Bezos hopes it will lay the foundation for a new type of economic activity in space.

Blue Origin’s New Glenn

Meanwhile, at SpaceX, Musk’s motive is much more focused: sending humans to Mars in his lifetime. Elon has already laid down a blueprint for a colony at Mars which would be feasible in a decade. Elon is building the BFR – a 118m tall spaceship. He imagines hundreds of these spaceships leaving Earth every few years, transporting a million people when the two planets come closest to each other. When asked about his plan, he replied, “We’ve [SpaceX] recently made a number of breakthroughs that I am just really fired up about. I’m talking about moving there.” He speculated that humans could take a flight to Mars in another seven years — with tickets costing “around a couple of hundred thousand dollars” — on, he warned, a “one-way” journey. “Once you land successfully, you’ll be working nonstop to build the base…it’s a very harsh environment. There’s a good chance you die there.”

SpaceX’s BFR
SpaceX plan for colonizing Mars

To read more about Elon’s mission to colonize Mars click on this link – https://www.spacex.com/mars

SpaceX Mars landing site concept

Apart from Musk and Bezos, billionaires such as Richard Branson, Paul Allen, Yuri Milner and Robert Bigelow too have outlined their ambitious ventures to explore deep space and far-off planets and to boldly go where no billionaire has gone before.

The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don’t have a space program, it’ll serve us right!

~ Larry Niven

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