BBC Future has an interesting overview on the efforts to get to space and how we might be on the verge of a sort of gold rush beyond Earth’s boundaries.

Getting into orbit and beyond has long been held by governmental organizations, which had the capital and infrastructure to make manned missions into space a reality, but now, the influx of companies and money is transforming how we think about space.

But while organisations focus on these more secure markets, the rise in private individual investment is helping to fund some of the more unusual space ventures, such as space mining and tourism. Anderson dubs these ‘black sky’ projects and says the majority of individual investors – around 80% – are opting to put their money here. This is something individuals can do, because unlike governments or large companies they have the freedom to invest as they choose.

What’s most interesting about this is how private companies will drastically shift the direction of how we approach space. Up until this point, going to space really fell into two to three categories: military / national priorities, such as developing ICBM and other weapons technologies, with ported over nicely to lunar exploration, scientific and research, or limited commercial work chiefly in communications satellites. More private investors with access to space means that space exploration and travel isn’t limited to those categories, provided that the other categories are cost-effective over a longer period of time. Mining asteroids is certainly one possibility, but as access to space gets easier, more opportunities will present themselves.

Read the entire article here.

[BBC Future]