Photo: Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Opinion: Run another space race

Elon Musk did the incredible and tossed a car up into space. Some people view it as silly, but I love the stunt. The talk going on right now about space and the future of space exploration has definitely been reinvigorated by this move, and I could not be happier. Following the trip of Falcon Heavy, the rocket that carried the car up to space, Musk came out and said, “We want a new space race. Space races are exciting."

I absolutely agree with him: A new space race would be amazing for the American people. 

Space races astound the scientific world with innovation and technological advancement. The last space race took the United States from being bound to Earth to landing on the moon, to sending the Voyager past the edge of the galaxy and beyond. The space race brought breakthroughs in technologies such as robotics, satellite TV, MRI and CAT scans and more. Additionally, the last space race encouraged exploration in math and science among students who would grow to be today's leaders in those fields. A new space race could bring us many similar great things.

For these reasons, I support Musk’s statement that we need a new space race. A competitive race built on industry and love for innovation would be the ideal new race — one which could happen sooner than you think. The previous space race was on taxpayers' dime, something that many people slowly grew to hate. However, this space race would be built off of private companies funding themselves to achieve the incredible. Musk's SpaceX has many competitors, like Blue Origin, which will help this sense of competition thrive.

The goal of this race would be to expand access to space and to open the horizon up like a door for any man to walk through. This would be a fantastic next step for humanity’s climb into the future. Making the last frontier into a homestead would be an achievement beyond imagination.

Additionally, the notion of a new space race just appeals to me. Great minds working together to create something brilliant provides a bit of romance and awe that I yearn to see. But the main reason I crave seeing this development is because of what we could achieve technologically from this competitive environment. Technology is already growing exponentially: the first home computer came out in 1975, about 40 years after the very first basic programmable computer was made. Just 20 years later the first smartphone comes out. Of course, the very first smartphone is nothing compared to the latest iPhone X.

Technology evolves quickly, and a new space race will add fuel to that fire. Great things could be created by SpaceX, Blue Origin or any other company invested in space. And besides, watching rockets go up into space and drop off cars is just amazing to see.



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