Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a communication satellite lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., April 11, 2019. VOA

Half a century after astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, a new space race is underway to exploit the skies for commercial profit.

Tech giants and startups pursuing bold plans such as selling space tourism, mining asteroids and beaming giant adverts into the skies are winning millions in investment with pledges to bring the stars into reach.


Annual revenues from space-related business, currently worth $350 billion, could nearly triple in size by 2040, estimates U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley.

But the rapid growth of a market with seemingly boundless potential has sparked concerns about a lack of laws and potential conflicts over resources, prompting calls for more rules to govern humanity’s use of the cosmos.


Indian Space Research Organization’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII-M1 at its launch pad in Sriharikota, an island off India’s south-eastern coast, July 2019. VOA

“By 2040 (we believe) there will be 1,000 people living and working on the moon and 10,000 annual visitors,” said Aaron Sorenson, a spokesman from the Japanese lunar exploration startup ispace.

“Our company vision is to extend human presence into outer space. We believe that begins with the expansion of the earth’s economy to the moon,” he said.

Drops in launch costs brought about by technological advances such as the development of commercial reusable rockets have caught the interest of startups and investors.

Super-rich businesspeople including Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos who want to colonize space to support human life are pouring cash into cutting-edge private spacecraft.

Also Read- Laughter Can Make Bad Joke Seems Funnier

In addition, a resurgence in national space programs of countries such as India, which this week launched a rocket aiming to get a rover on the moon, as well as the United States and China could provide a source of funding for businesses.

Grand ambitions

Space hotels, cosmic business insurance, celestial advertising billboards, and in-space manufacturing are among the businesses being explored by firms hoping that technology will open up new horizons amid a boom of commercial space activity.

“I think very soon you are going to see major, traditional nonspace businesses taking notice,” said Sorenson, whose company is working to develop a high-frequency shuttle between earth and the moon.


Half a century after astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, a new space race is underway to exploit the skies for commercial profit. Pixabay

Aerospace companies such as Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin are aiming to become the first private firm to launch a human into space.

A handful of firms have also been exploring the potential of mining asteroids for minerals and resources, a business that for now remains in the realm of science fiction but which space companies think could be possible in a decade or two.

Governments are positioning to take advantage of these new markets even before they become a reality.

The United States and Luxembourg have both passed legislation aiming to allow property rights on planets and create regulations to permit space mining, with Russia indicating earlier this year that it may follow suit.

Also Read- Things to Keep in Mind to Make Co-Working Environment Work in Best Possible Way

But it is doubtful whether some of the more futuristic firms have yet established a clear business model, said Ian Christensen from the Secure World Foundation, a space advocacy group.

Cluttered skies?

The rush of speculation in space has also revealed gaps in the international laws and treaties governing its use and sparked calls for greater oversight.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, with more than 100 nations party to the agreement, provides the main framework for space law, and says no nation can claim ownership of outer space and it must be free for use by all countries.

“In those days everybody thought that space was basically for a few states, for military purposes,” said Frans von der Dunk, a professor of space law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Nobody really foresaw the commercial development which we have seen since. So in that sense a lot needs to be clarified.”

Key questions include whether companies can claim ownership over space minerals, according to von der Dunk. If so, how should countries divide up access rights to ensure the spoils are shared fairly?

There is also debate about how to deal with the growing amount of “space junk” hurtling around the earth, such as broken satellites and spent rocket parts, which can cause serious damage to spacecraft.

“If it goes on like this then maybe 10 or 20 years from now it will be nearly impossible to conduct safe space operations because there’s so much junk floating around,” said von der Dunk.

Another worry is that plans by companies like Amazon and SpaceX to launch thousands of satellites will jam space with yet more clutter and increase the risk of collisions, said Christopher Newman, a space law and policy expert from Britain’s Northumbria University.

Clarifying the rules of doing business in space could benefit commercial operators by offering them stability and clearer costs and risks, say legal experts.

But the likelihood of world powers agreeing to any major new international space treaties or a body to referee disputes between nations are slim, Newman said.

He added that treaties that give away sovereignty are “out of fashion.”

Until a clearer picture emerges of the future of space infrastructure, he said, space players will continue to enjoy a degree of “anarchy.”

“Space is congested, competitive and contested … and it’s only going to get worse as the technology, orbital population and access to space all increase,” he said. (VOA)


Popular

Unsplash

Music is the universal language that is spoken by all.

When it comes to our day-to-day life, there are several things which help us enhance our day with every step. One such thing is music. It enhances, motivates and boosts certain aspects of our personality in ways that may not come into notice. There have been several researches on how music affects human brain. Studies show it helps us in recovery and healing, and also, encouraging us to be better if exposed to the right kind and fit.

From kids to elderly, music as a commodity, can be consumed by all. It is the universal language that is spoken by each and every being, from animals to humans to plants, each respond to it in their own ways. Suffice to say, we are united by music and the effect it has over us. Plants, for example, grow better when exposed to good music. Many songs are being composed specifically to enhance and boost their growth. Same is the case for humans. For humans, the right kind of music can boost good health, physically as well as mentally. You might have noticed how in gyms, upbeat music is played. That is to channel energy into everyone present. It adds to the workout. Several researches around the world have shown better physical output when exposed to appropriate music. Fast paced songs with upbeat nature channeled speed and the slower ones slowed downs the listeners, without them noticing. The sub-conscious effects of music are continuously being studied.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

Awareness is the key to heal.

As more and more people are acknowledging the importance of their mental well-being, the wave of awareness the acknowledgment has brought is unprecedented. It may not have paved a clear path towards complete healing but it certainly has shown the way. The awareness is the key to heal. Healing begins only after the problem is identified. Similar to physical illness, the identification of the problem area is the first step. Even in case of a minor wound, when we go to the hospital the nurse first locates the wound. They, then, ask how we got hurt and identify the nature of the wound. Only then, they clean, put ointment and wrap it up if it needs wrapping and protection from air and dust. Sometimes, that protection is not needed. The wound heals out in the open. Same goes when it comes to healing of a mental trauma or illness. Sometimes, we confine in professionals or our loved ones, in order to let it out and process it openly. Sometimes, the trauma reduces with time. In any way, being aware and vigilant is the way to go.

Being knowledgeable about life in general, opens many channels for you. Being knowledgeable about yourself, opens gates inside you that lead to spiritual and general awareness about the concept of self. And the inner awareness is not necessarily internal, it can be seen from the outside as well. When we have positive energy from within it radiates physically as well. Have you encountered someone who’s spiritually awakened and aware? Do they stand out in the crowd? There are prominent examples of people who have made their mark in history, there is Swami Vivekanada, his awakening has revolutionised generations, one live example we can witness is The Dalai Lama.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Game of Thrones taught us some significant lessons

Honestly, who hasn’t watched one of the epic series of HBO– Game of Thrones?

There’s no question that when the first episode of Game of Thrones was released on April 11, 2011, the youth population of the world became exuberant. The main reasons behind this reaction was, first, the theme of the show, and second, the hidden lessons which it put forward.

Keep reading... Show less