|3/16/2017 by mdc|
|Karla Lant opines that billionaire space entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing to the moon and beyond. Musk and SpaceX announced plans to bring two paying space tourists into orbit for a weeklong trip circumnavigating the Moon by the end of 2018. We learned that Amazon Prime really would be everywhere by 2020 when word leaked that Blue Origin and Bezos plan to begin delivery of human habitats, science experiments, and other gear to the Moon.|
This progress characterizes the new space race, in which private companies are fueling innovation as much, or more than, countries (aka governments). The winners are not just the owners of the companies, but all humans, as space technologies are continuously developed and improved. Blue Origin and SpaceX both prioritize tech like reusable rockets that cuts cost of space travel, which may eventually make striking out into the universe more accessible to more people.
Winning the race is no longer about nuclear supremacy, but about cornering a market with a streamlined technology or a better product. The space race works for everyone. It bears the same positive fruits that the first space race did ... unprecedented levels of concentrated scientific innovation. However, the modern space race achieves this without as many destructive, unintended consequences as were produced by the Cold War and arms race.
Both SpaceX and Blue Origin are planning to bring tourism to the final frontier, the first step in settling outer space. The SpaceX Dragon will carry its paying passengers first if all goes to plan. Both companies plan to have manned units in space and heading for the moon in 2018 because Musk and Bezos share the same ultimate goal ... the settlement of space.
The primary vision is millions of people living and working in space, Bezos told the press in 2015. Musk has repeatedly called space colonization a necessity, and has shared detailed plans for Mars colonies.