The Age of Commercial Spaceflight
Rocket science isn’t easy. Ask any engineer. Rocket science isn’t cheap. Just ask NASA. Fortunately, in recent years, a number of commercial spaceflight companies have stepped up to the plate in order to help national space agencies extend their reach into the final frontier.
Innovative companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have accelerated the development of reusable rockets exponentially. In so doing, they have dramatically reduced the cost of leaving our pale blue dot, improving both our ability to explore the cosmos and scientists’ capacity to conduct research beyond Earth.
With $30 million leaving the bank account over the next five years, NASA plans on setting up and supporting two institutes dedicated to extending humanity’s reach in our solar system.
These Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) will each receive $15 million in NASA funding to develop technologies in biomaterials and biomanufacturing. Universities will lead multidisciplinary research programs in hopes of obtaining credible outcomes in the next five years. While the research is focused on expanding our species into space, the STRIs look to finding applications beyond just aerospace for the work.
It would have been an incredible experience journeying through Christopher Nolan’s mind during his time co-writing, co-producing and directing the Hollywood blockbuster Interstellar, which eventually made its way to the movie screens in 2014. What could prompt such detailed imagination? Well the origins of the screenplay can be traced back to a script that Jonathan Nolan, Christopher’s brother wrote back in 2007. The script was inspired by the work of Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Kip Thorne also had a seat as the Executive Director of the movie. Interstellar, like Evacuating Earth highlights certain calamities that could bring our planet to the brink of extinction and prompt humanity’s search for a home somewhere else within our universe.