The Final Frontier
“Space, the final frontier...” is how the popular television show starts. In almost all imaginable ways, this statement is correct. We have combed the face of this planet and discovered it’s wonders. Plants and animals have been discovered, cataloged, and studied. Energy has been found, used, re-purposed, and used again. We have taken to the sky in winged machines and probed the depths of the oceans. There, we found new and amazing creatures. But, space, well space is... out there. In the sixties, when man began stretching his arms heavenward, many thought it was foolish, all knew the risks. Still, we reached, and in large part, we grasped.
An article in the September 17th edition of the New York Times titled, ‘Meet SpaceX’s First Moon Voyage Customer, Yusaku Maezawa” discusses the next chapter in our bid to tame the stars. It also raises many questions about the future of space, and how businesses can exploit it. “Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go the moon,” Mr. Maexawa shouted.” (Chang, para 2). Indeed, a civilian is going to the moon. This is now an option, and the ramifications for business are almost as limitless as space itself.
Mr. Maezawa is paying SpaceX an undisclosed amount of money for the experience of traveling around the moon. There is sure to be more men and women to follow him. The step of sending civilians alone into space will create jobs. A new rocket must be built and this will lead to new technologies. But this is not where I believe the story is going. The commercialization of space began when we first looked to the stars.
It is in our nature to go to the places we have never been. We have seen this throughout human history. It just so happens that space is perhaps the last place we have not been. At least, most of us have not. Maybe that is about to change.
Yes, the prospect of colonies on Mars seems far-fetched now, but that is the reality of exploration. When the first airplanes were built, the men who built them were called crazy. Now, our skies are filled with people traveling from place to place. What once was a luxury beyond ordinary expense accounts, is now commonplace and affordable. This is the way business works. An idea is formed, money is funneled into that idea in hopes of more money coming back in return. The automobile, computers, cellular phones, drones, the list goes on and on of innovations that began with an influx of money from an entrepreneur and ended with mass production and mass profits. Why should space be any different.
Yes, SpaceX is spending billions to build the craft for this trip. Don’t think for a moment that they do not have a plan for the return of that investment. This is what capitalism is all about. For the moment, the expense of such a trip is exorbitant, but this is the early stages. As technology is paid for and developed, future trips will cost less. New technologies will arise, and new innovations will make the struggles of this trip less expensive to overcome. The future could very well hold a colony on Mars and that would open up a whole new economy. The sky is indeed the limit.
Chang, Kenneth. “Meet SpaceX's First Moon Voyage Customer, Yusaku Maezawa.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/09/17/science/spacex-moon-tourism-passenger.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=13&pgtype=sectionfront.