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OCTOBER 8 2019

In a race for a more sustainable world, how much does fear and glory drive the development of space technology?

Quite a lot we think. It’s important to bear in mind that the Space Age was a kind of perfect storm of conditions: incredible technological achievements at hand after WWII, convenient arch-enemies, head of States who needed a “win” in a kind of non-shooting competition to prove that their countries had superior technological capability, good governance, better intelligence. The race to the moon was born.

And if key motivators for big human achievements in space technologies were a combination of fear and glory? Our basic survival instinct inspires us to get the solar system populated in case the Earth is not enough. Glory is self-explanatory. These eternal motivators could be used in a constructive and sustainable way. However, the rise of the private sector in space might be a better motivator for more advanced spaceflight capabilities. There appear to be solid economic arguments for the development of Earth orbit and cislunar space. The benefits might range from global cheap broadband to abundant, clean, and ultimately cheap solar power, two examples of space technologies that might span the chasm of time and investment, and provide unimaginable benefits to humankind.

- A reflexion on the occasion of this week’s space resources week organized by the Luxembourg Space Agency.