Russia launched Sputnik nearly 1/2 a century ago and started the Space Race. China is the new competitor for dominance in space!
Does it matter? Should there be a Space Race? Lets think about what America is best at and what could be the greatest opportunity for America’s future prosperity. America is the best at: Internet Technology, Software Development and Space Exploration. Sure there is more but this is some of our best of the best. In addition, these are open frontiers with potentially endless wealth. Most of us understand software wealth, look at Microsoft, Google, Facebook, it is easy to see the prosperity!
What about space? When America was in its founding years, the cry was “Go west, young man!” The opportunity was in the frontier and even though it was not clearly defined, it was intuitively known. Sure there was gold to pan for, cattle to raise and farmland to grow on; however, we all knew the frontier was always where the magical opportunity lay.
Space is no different. We have just seen the first real commercial success in space launch technology thanks to SpaceX. The future in space is potentially ours if we don’t let it slip away. We are still years ahead of the Chinese but they are planning on building their own space station, separate from the International Space Station. In the weeks to come they will launch their first docking experiment and have already succeeded in a space walk! They are much farther advanced than most suspect. On the negative side, consider the issues that might arise if China begins to build a presence on the Moon and has a space station capable of launching weapons. On the positive side, consider what opportunities await a competitive America that keeps its lead. Mining asteroids could yield incredible resources in precious metals that could be processed in space with the huge free resource of Solar Power. On the Moon facilities could process ore minded from asteroids using solar power and benefiting from the minimal gravity of the moon to launch mining missions at a very low cost, compared to an Earth Launch.
Nuclear Plants on the moon would allow for great power resources with no big concerns for dangers to cities and residents. Once a facility is profitable on the Moon, it will need services and these will grow up around the factories. In other words, it will quickly escalate and with this expansion, creative people will discover new opportunities we cannot yet imagine. Consider that manufacturing on the moon or in space nearby, will have unique opportunities not just because of abundant solar energy but because of the gravity free environment!
We must not lose our lead in the Space Race. The Space Race is on again and China is the new Russia we are competing against.