A new Space Race /

We are at the dawn of a new, privatised, Space Age.

Companies such as Space X and Virgin Galactic have the potential to create a huge boom in public interest in space again and for the first time, make space accessible to the general public (if you have $250k lying around that is). 

Looking at how positively people have reacted to the Mars Rover missions (and the Rovers themselves) as NASA has become ever more personable and media friendly through social media, space is becoming interesting again and piquing people’s Curiosity once more.

Future technologies such as the James Webb Telescope, due to be launched in 2018, will partner nicely with the growing general interest in finding exoplanets like Earth and the public will look at the space industry in a new light as new technologies open our eyes to fascinating aspects of space we haven’t seen since Hubble first went online.

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The prominence of Sci-Fi and ‘geek’ culture has also helped generate more interest in new technologies as it has become part of everyday rather than fantasy. The public could start asking what happened to ‘the World of Tomorrow’ and how can we get it back on track. With the help of privatised companies and world-wide crowd sourced based funding for projects through KickStarter and Indiegogo we could see the public not just take an interest in a new Space Age, but they could fund it and help shape the future of human space exploration by doing so.

The final step is getting kids interested in science and space. A whole generation of children grew up in the 60s thinking space was an attainable place to reach within their lifetime. Instead it may be their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren who will be the first civilians realistically able to venture into space. With better science and technology schooling desperately needed in the UK, the Space industry is a chance to reinvigorate both skills and aspirations for young people and help grow an industry already worth £20bn (contributing £9bn to the UK economy).

The fact that the UK government is willing to inject £200m at a time of major cuts shows that it see the sector as a place for future growth, and with private funding the final frontier may be finally explored by the everyman. 

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