Thursday, January 15, 2009

Space Renaissance!

Becoming Spacefaring: Integrated Space Policy is a very interesting post by FerrisValyn that appeared on the Daily Kos a couple of days ago. It's a well organized argument in support of the commercial development of space, going well beyond exploration and current "utilities" like comsats and GPS to establish a space-based economy. Space is outside the direct experience of most humans (not to mention outside the atmosphere), but the analogy with the use of the oceans and the air by seafaring and "airfaring" nations is still apt. There are a lot of resources and opportunities out there. We'll eventually use them, but whether that starts soon or in a hundred years probably depends on decisions made in the next couple of years.

A version of this report was provided to the Obama transition team - and we'll soon see how much the issue of space will show up on Obama's radar. I read some reports that the new NASA adminstrator is likely to be a retired USAF general, Maj. Gen. Jonathan Scott Gration. He is said to be close to Obama but is unknown and inexperienced in the space domain. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. It will certainly be a change from Mike Griffin.

Somehow this article (and its follow-up on technology investment) led me to Space Renaissance and the call for a Space Renaissance Forum, which I signed. The ideas are very similar to what FerrisValyn proposes, and they are calling for a presence at the upcoming G20 summit in April to try to put space development on the world economic agenda. I like some of their "basic concepts" which may not seem so basic to everyone:
  • Earth is not sick: She's Pregnant!
  • Space Tourism, key to open the High Frontier
  • Humans are resources, not problems!
  • Space is safer than Earth
  • Space is easier than Earth
  • Space is more convenient than Earth
I think we're about due for a new Renaissance.

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