Landing a job on the Moon? Not such a far-fetched idea
Surviving, living, and inhabiting, the three goals of the Artemis mission which will mark the return of humans to the Moon in 2025, are clear: it’s about ensuring a constant human presence on our natural asteroid. This NASA-initiated mission reopens the door to space. A new era is dawning: the Moon and Mars are places where we’ll stay.
There are no fewer than 150 Moon exploration missions planned between now and 2030. The exponential drop in the cost of accessing space, thanks in large part to reusable space rockets and craft, is driving the development of the Earth-Moon economy, heralding the dawn of a multi-planetary human race. The cost of sending satellites, which are getting smaller and smaller and using less and less energy, into space continues to fall—more than 33,000 satellites are expected to launch in the next ten years. According to a recent report from Northern Sky Research, missions to carry astronauts, supplies and infrastructure are expected to be the most powerful growth driver for the space economy, generating $216 billion over the coming decade. The report highlights the scale of growth in the space industry, a market that it is estimated will reach $633 billion by 2030.
Growing numbers of established and emerging operators are seeing new revenue opportunities created by lunar development and interplanetary exploration missions. In the wake of the Lunar Gateway orbital station, a springboard for future, more distant crewed flights, which is being funded by NASA, the European Space Agency, and private enterprise, private space stations are already in the design phase. Some applications already look like growth opportunities. Take Canadian company MDA, which supplies robotic and electronic tools for space missions.
Preparations well underway
The first step is to organize stays on the Moon and then on Mars, with water, energy and food resources that must be transported before they can be produced and recycled on site. To achieve this total self-sufficiency, the water and plastic recycling technology developed on board the ISS will be invaluable. Preparations are picking up speed. French start-up Spartan Space, for one, is designing inflatable lunar habitats equipped with technology for oxygen and energy storage, grey water recycling and more. Plant cultivation in space is advancing. For the first time, researchers from the University of Florida have succeeded in growing plants in lunar soil samples collected in 1969 during the Apollo 11 and later missions.
More and more people will go to work and produce in space. With the Starship craft from SpaceX, whose ambition is to reach Mars from the Moon, they will, without a doubt, number in the thousands. Anticipating the need for private training, Orbite, a start-up created by Nicolas Gaume and Blacksky founder Jason Andrew, will offer the highest level of space training beginning in 2024.
So many Moon-made opportunities
Zero gravity means many, very high-added-value products can be created for Earth as well—in agriculture, biology, chemistry and new materials. Space Cargo Unlimited is looking to profit from microgravity and grow vines that can withstand more climate stresses. Back on Earth, the vine shoots, which were sent to the ISS in 2019 to be exposed to microgravity, are delivering on all their promises. Research is ongoing with Germany’s University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.We believe the space adventure will provide concrete solutions and celestial keys to Earth’s biggest challenges.
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