With the election in full swing, and the current financial crisis (and its political ramifications) it is easy to lose sight of what is really happening in the world; especially when it comes to developments in science, or in this case, technology.
In a soaring step forward for privatized space exploration, the Falcon I rocket has made it into space (after a few failures.) This is all aimed at the goal to, “make spaceflight ten times cheaper then it is now.”
This, of course, follows in the footsteps of the incredible achievements of SpaceshipOne and Virgin Galactic; a company more aimed towards space tourism.
There is an obvious industry for communication in space, which is now being exploited, after long years of being held down by silly government mandates (like the law against advertising on your space-craft, or how NASA works at a loss to lift satellites.) Despite the incredible achievements made by government space agencies, the first real push into space (and eventual colonization) will come from private ventures.
Though there are many issues that need to be panned out first. Ownership of other worlds like Mars and even the Moon; drilling and exploitation rights on objects like meteorites; who handles threats like meteorites and comets when it comes to Earth’s safety; and just what can a person do and not do in space?
In my humble opinion, many of these issues can be dealt with before they actually come up; and governmental forces will need to get involved. Property rights on distant worlds can be decided beforehand (and will actually create powerful incentives for exploration.) Large scale (Earth-wide) threats like comets and meteorites will require government; and certain codes and laws for transporting possibly contaminated material from space will also need to be created.
But for now, let’s just enjoy the achievements of companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic; the ones just beginning to bring us into a new age of spaceflight and exploration; the first real Space Age has not even been born yet; but thanks to them, it might happen sooner then we think.