The Space Race Heats Up Again: Exploring Renewed Interest in the 21st Century
The Space Race seemed to experience a marked cooldown for several decades, however, a new one has begun in recent years. Why are we so interested in the “final frontier”?
The Space Fascination for Regular People
It’s no secret that, as humans, we have held a fascination for the world beyond us. This is heavily portrayed in a whole array of media, from movies to books. We can even take a seemingly unrelated industry like gaming as an example.
Nowadays users can play space-themed online slots at Paddy Power on their PC or phone/tablet browser. From Space Donkey to Starburst, the fascination is obvious enough that even casino games have been impacted. We have more and more slot variations with space motifs being constantly churned out, and their popularity is not diminishing.
There could be many reasons attributed to how captivating space is for us regular Joes and Janes, perhaps the knowledge that most of us thought it would be impossible to go there ourselves. It could be the curiosity that pushes us too, the need to explore the unknown.
This heavy interest is one of the main factors why there has been such a revived focus in recent years by governments and businesses worldwide, beyond the scientific ones of course. From space tourism provided by companies like Virgin Galactic to the new space race – we are going to explore the latest in space news.
The 2023 Highlights in Space Exploration and Commercialization
When it comes to space news, 2023 certainly has lots to offer. First up, we have to discuss the major win for India. It is the fourth-ever country to successfully land on the moon and the first one to do so in the moon’s south polar region. This is followed after the unsuccessful attempt of Russia just a few days prior. Even though at the moment of writing the probes sent out of Chandrayaan-3, Vikram and Pragyan, have failed to wake up, the mission was still a monumental success.
Next, we have the first Earth flyby of NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft, part of the STEREO mission that started in 2006. This has granted us the first full 3D view of the sun, also thanks to its twin STEREO-B, which, unfortunately, was lost in 2014.
2023 also marks a new record when it comes to the sheer number of people in space at once. Another record was broken, a mere five days later on 30th May, with the number of people in orbit reaching 17.
When it comes to space tourism, the aforementioned Virgin Galactic flew their first commercial suborbital spaceflight mission with VSS Unity with a space tourist. Currently, there are 800 people on the waiting list for space flights, but this will surely only grow as is the number of tourist spaceflights.
While there is still plenty left to explore on planet Earth, it doesn’t stop us from going beyond its borders. What this will entail in the long run, only time can tell, although theories such as the dark forest hypothesis do paint a sombre picture. Regardless, the new commercial space race is here, with the USA, Russia and China taking the lead, but the game is different this time – 80 more countries are in on it too.