Aerospace’s Future Impact On Your Investments
Almost a week ago, a one ton robot the size of a small car, poetically named The Curiosity, landed on Mars.
Our resident breakthrough technology expert Patrick Cox captured the intensity of the moment well:
“Did you watch the NASA coverage of the successful landing of the Mars rover? At one point, when Curiosity was safely landed, the tension had dissipated and pictures of the terrain around the probe were beginning to stream in, some technician forget he was being streamed live and exclaimed, “Holy s***!” Inappropriate for general audiences, of course, but imminently understandable. This, combined with news that the private company SpaceX will design the next-generation passenger-carrying space shuttle, gives me hope”.
The science lab on wheels will roam the planet for 687 earth days (or 1 Martian year) in search for any evidence of life’s chemical building blocks.
Its main goal is to discover whether or not anything has lived or is living on Mars, which would pave the way for a manned mission in the future.
But with severe 2013 spending cuts to NASA’s budget, The Curiosity may be the last mission of its kind for at least a decade to come.
It begs the question: was the $2.5 billion cost of the project on the red planet worth it for “poor people” back here on the blue planet?
What is it that you’re really losing with the end to missions like The Curiosity?
The answer is: a lot that most people take for granted.
Products resulting from space technology have already spun off into the free market and enhanced the lives of millions of people here at home.
Consider the cordless tools that made cell phones, or even cordless local phones that free you from being tied to your desk all day.
Add to that the rechargeable battery, which goes into much more than just cell phones…
How about the hook and loop fasteners, otherwise known as Velcro, that’s probably on your kids shoes… or the bike helmet they wear that keeps them safe.
And airbags… who knows how many lives those have saved.
The ceramic teeth braces that straighten your smile, the insulin pumps that keeps diabetes in check, the artificial hearts that could keep your blood pumping and better pacemakers to track your its rate, CAT scans that detect cancer in your body and microscopes that can examine it, ear thermometers that check if you have a fever, and scratch resistant glasses that help you see clearly…
Smoke detectors that alert you if your house is on fire and the fire fighter equipment and suits that help extinguish it.
What about satellite TV?
All of these and hundreds more different gadgets spun off from technologies invented for multi-billion dollar space programs that were jumpstarted 50 years ago.
So next time somebody complains about the money we’ve spent on space programs, you’ll remember that it was those grand ambitions that enhanced the quality of life for millions.
And NASA, one of the few useful government sponsored programs, was one of the first to have its funding cut for next year.
Though maybe that shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the $850 billion dollar bank bailout cost more than the entire NASA budget during all of its history.
The good news is that the private sector is picking up the slack because they’re realizing the profit potential in the space industry. But that’s a story for another article, and another day.
I’ll let Patrick conclude today with his take on the matter:
“Before the decade is out, we will have multiple launch systems and space vehicles, all far cheaper to use than the space shuttle. We’ll be able to explore space more, not less. Furthermore, space will be opened further to private access as well — all from cutting a single government program. Expect new commercial and investment opportunities to eventually arise.”
Consider this just one of many exciting trends that will open one area in a multitude of unprecedented investment opportunities.
Editor, Agora Financial
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