We are entering a new golden age of space and this time around it will not simply be those presently sitting in research labs, government agencies and corporate board meetings who will be pioneers in the revolution. The new pioneers, the leaders, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, explorers and, yes, settlers too, are currently to be found in classrooms around the world. And as our world embraces space science and space exploration on a whole new level, it is imperative that we address the question: “How will we thrive, not just survive, on other worlds?”
We see, every day, an increasing drive towards the pursuit of new technologies and innovations beyond the bounds of Earth. Sure, there is SpaceX’s drive for Mars colonisation but there are many other lesser known projects like the UAE’s Mars 2117 project, and the European Space Agency’s Moon village idea. There are new business opportunities, from Luxembourg’s efforts on asteroid mining to Japanese start-up, Astro Live Experiences, that creates shooting stars on demand using microsatellites, aiming to contribute to scientific research through entertainment. And for the everyday citizen there is the growing reality of participating in space tourism. Blue Origin, SpaceX, Bigelow Aerospace, Space for Humanity and Virgin Galactic (which recently launched the first woman, Beth Moses, into space on a commercial spacecraft) are just a few of the companies that are lifting off with campaigns explicitly designed to include the entire global community in space.
To truly embrace this new golden age of space, it is imperative that we inspire, encourage, and direct the youth of our home world, our Earth, and that we lead them in a way that eclipses our current meagre educational efforts, into our collective future in the beyond.