Misc: Commercial space prospects + Building a robust space economy + Storing a data bank on the Moon

September 29, 2018
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September 29, 2018

, a professor of Management Science at the University of South Carolina, writes about the development of commercial space over the past decade and how it might develop in the coming decade: A decade of commercial space travel – what’s next? – The Conversation

It’s true that space is becoming just another place to do business. There are companies that will handle the logistics of getting your destined-for-space module on board a rocket; there are companies that will fly those rockets to the International Space Station; and there are others that can make a replacement part once there.

What comes next? In one sense, it’s anybody’s guess, but all signs point to this new industry forging ahead. A new breakthrough could alter the speed, but the course seems set: exploring farther away from home, whether that’s the moon, asteroids or Mars. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, SpaceX launches were yet to be successful. Today, a vibrant private sector consists of scores of companies working on everything from commercial spacecraft and rocket propulsion to space mining and food production. The next step is working to solidify the business practices and mature the industry.

Standing in a large hall at the University of Pittsburgh as part of the White House Frontiers Conference, I see the future. Wrapped around my head are state-of-the-art virtual reality goggles. I’m looking at the surface of Mars. Every detail is immediate and crisp. This is not just a video game or an aimless exercise. The scientific community has poured resources into such efforts because exploration is preceded by information. And who knows, maybe 10 years from now, someone will be standing on the actual surface of Mars.

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Ian Fichtenbaum writes about “how to build a robust space economy and infrastructure, one built to accommodate future growth”: Op-ed | Toward a robust space economy – SpaceNews.com .

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The Arch Mission Foundation (see post here) will use a DNA-based data storage system for the Lunar LibraryTM, which will be archived on the Moon: Arch Mission partners with researchers send DNA library to moon – GeekWire

The Arch Mission Foundation says it’s partnering with Microsoft, the University of Washington and Twist Bioscience to send an archive of 10,000 crowdsourced images, the full text of 20 books and other information on Astrobotic’s 2020 mission to the moon.

All of the data for those files will be encoded in strands of synthetic DNA that could easily fit within a tiny glass bead. The Microsoft-UW-Twist team has already demonstrated how the method can be used for efficient storage and retrieval of data files, including an OK Go music video.

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