Humanity’s Future in Space
Exploration and tech breakthroughs in outer space
This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.
Researchers at the RAND corporation recently analyzed what humans could achieve in space by 2050.i
Among the highlights: Elon Musk has said that SpaceX plans to send a crewed mission to Mars by 2029.ii Another group hopes to get unmanned vehicles to Alpha Centauri, the closest star to Earth, using nano-ships powered by laser light sails.iii
Advancements in space go beyond mere exploration, however.
At least 19 companies are working on plans to 3-D print bases on the Moon and Mars.
Also being 3-D printed in space? Human organs. Researchers have already been experimenting with the technology on the International Space Station, where it works better thanks to microgravity.iv In the future, 3-D printing could provide food or medical care for astronauts on deep space journeys.
There’s also a big business opportunity in space: mining. The value of minerals located in asteroids near Earth is so large it has elicited comparisons to the California Gold Rush. Just one asteroid that passed near Earth in 2015 was estimated to contain $5 trillion of platinum.
One catch: Researchers also predict that space mining will give rise to space pirates, who attempt to steal the minerals.
Even Hollywood is looking to get in on the space race. Tom Cruise is currently in talks to film a movie aboard the International Space Station.v Watch your backs, space pirates.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Scientists could soon 3D print human organs in space labs.
- A single asteroid that passed near earth was estimated to contain $5 trillion worth of platinum.
- The vast wealth up for grabs in space could give rise to space pirates.
- “Future Uses of Space Out to 2050” (James Black, Linda Slapakova, Kevin Martin) — RAND Corporation
- “Elon Musk Hints at a Crewed Mission to Mars in 2029” (Rina Torchinsky) – NPR
- “Why Are We Here? This Nano Spacecraft Plan Might Find Answers One Solar System Over” (David Axe) – The Daily Beast
- “Why Astronauts Are Printing Organs in Space” (Josh Sims) – BBC
- "Tom Cruise, the ISS, and the Challenges of Making Movies in Space" (Jeff Foust) – Space News
SOUND: “Confronting Destiny” (C.K.M)
FOOTAGE: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library (Getty) // Dave Williams (Getty)
CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.
- RAND Corporation
“Future Uses of Space Out to 2050” (James Black, Linda Slapakova, Kevin Martin)
“Elon Musk Hints at a Crewed Mission to Mars in 2029” (Rina Torchinsky)
- The Daily Beast
“Why Are We Here? This Nano Spacecraft Plan Might Find Answers One Solar System Over” (David Axe)
“Why Astronauts Are Printing Organs in Space” (Josh Sims)
- Space News
"Tom Cruise, the ISS, and the Challenges of Making Movies in Space" (Jeff Foust)