These types of explorations have been allowed to happen as the commercialization of space means that government agencies such as NASA will not have exclusive rights to operate in space as commercialization has opened the field. In fact, many private companies are working on projects such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
If successful, an entirely new type of business will be created with access to new resources that could benefit many sectors. As man’s journey into space is still relatively new it is difficult to know exactly what the future of space commercialization will look like however a number of projects are currently underway that give us a glimpse of what the future may hold.
Mining in Space
One potential future development will be mining in space. Currently, mining on earth is one of the biggest polluters therefore if a new self-sustaining method is developed in space the earth would be able to repair itself. Currently projects to build the tools to mine on the moon and ship materials to earth are underway with companies such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries underway.
Printing in Space
Currently, to put a satellite in space it would have to be built on earth and launched into space. However, thanks to the new technology of 3D printing things could change in the future. Companies researching the idea believe that if a high-tech 3D printer that is capable of running off the natural materials of the moon were launched into space they need for earth launches would cease. This would be because the printer would be able to print the parts and components needed for a satellite as well as any other replacement parts that may be needed in the future. Many companies are currently exploring this idea with Made in Space a prime example.
The market for robots is wide open, conditions in space for humans are dangerous and difficult to work in. Therefore, the idea of a workforce of robots launching into space could become a reality. Not only would repairs on satellites be possible but robots could provide general maintenance that would prevent the discontinuation of satellites, providing economic advantage.
The future growth of space commercialization is unlimited, as more and more private companies become involved in projects and ideas the competition of creating low prices will drive the industry forward into a beneficial cost-effective sector. Once this happens then who knows what other ideas may come into fruition – there is already talks of the internet from space and a hotel on the moon!
Image Source by Nasa