Between the close of the Cold War and the more recent retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, we’ve long since left the first Space Age behind. But now it seems there’s a new space race brewing—one that may take humans out of our planet’s orbit.
The first Space Age was a geopolitical race between superpowers eager to outreach one another. Today's space race is a more complex interplay of networked nations and private players alternatively competing against, and collaborating with, one another. Once the exclusive provenance of old power nations, space exploration has increasingly opened to new global players with India, China, Nigeria, Japan, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates getting in the race. Private enterprises are also playing an increasingly prominent role in our interplanetary yearnings, as evidenced by the ventures backed by Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson.
NASA is still very much in the game, but without a moonshot-like commitment for Mars, its projected 2040 manned mission seems far off. A start-up company, or an upstart country, may beat us there—or perhaps help us all get there together as partners.
Join us at noon on Wednesday, March 8, in Washington, D.C., to consider whether it will be competition or cooperation that finally gets us to Mars and beyond.
For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.
Editorial director, Future Tense
CEO, Virgin Galactic and the Spaceship Company
President and CEO, New America
Director, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University
Director, Space Policy Institute, Elliott School of International Affairs
Professor of the practice of international affairs, George Washington University
President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Former chief scientist, NASA
Fellow, New America
Author, The Pioneer Detectives
Talal M. Al Kaissi
Senior adviser, commercial affairs and special projects; director of U.S./UAE space affairs, UAE Embassy Trade & Commercial Office
Orion production strategy Lead, Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Associate administrator for strategy and plans, NASA
Deputy chief of mission, Luxembourg Embassy
Science fiction writer and futurist