Some people talk about mining helium 3. Helium 3 is valuable when you first have working commercial aneutronic nuclear fusion. Even in my more optimistic assessment that is not until the 2020s. Earth can get billions of tons of rare earth materials off the ocean bottom (recent Japan find) or can get uranium from the ocean (Japan can do it for about $150 per pound, there is 4 billion tons in the ocean).
The true larger industries for space :
Information and satellite servicing
Information and satellite servicing
The satellite business is already a $168 billion a year business. An $8-20 billion market for improved servicing of satellites with space tugs for raising orbits, repairs, refueling seems like a reasonable estimate of a near term market.
Space Tourism in More Detail
Bladerunner quote –
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.
Space tourists may not see what Roy Batty saw. But there are amazing real life views and experiences to be had in space. They will see things that people who have not gone to space would not be able to truly experience even if they watched an IMAX movie from the space station.
Currently 7 space tourists have made 8 trips into space. Dennis Tito can brag about being first and Charles Simonyi can brag about going to orbit twice. In total, they paid $205 million for the trips (an average of $25 million per trip). There have been about 500 sub orbital flights that have been pre-sold at $200,000 per trip with $20,000 down payments.
Conducted in late 2009, the final study surveyed people from representative countries within Latin America, North America and Europe, regions that account for 72.8% of all international tourism expenditures1 and 68.7% of all international departures. Based on UNWTO-reported departure figures, as well as the percentage of adventure trips reported by the respondents in the survey, statistical analysis was used to estimate that nearly 150 million adventure trips are taken every year.
Hard adventure includes trekking, climbing (mountain, rock and ice) and caving. This is about 2% of the market in terms of number of trips, but hard adventure is more expensive. The next trip question on the survey suggests that hard adventuring could be increasing to 3.5% of the adventure market. Expeditions to Everest cost $70,000 to 200,000. $200,000 is needed for an attempt at the summit. About 10 to 16% of the people who go to Everest die. Mountaineering and caving have real danger and statistically can be more dangerous than what has been experienced by astronauts (about 2% fatalities).
Orbital space hotels where people will be able to see the curvature of the Earth or even the whole Earth (from a Lagrange point or from the moon for Earthrise) for the view of earth against the blackness of space.
Soft adventure tourism is possible for space with a focus on views and other experiences and this market is 10 to 15 times bigger than the hard adventure market. Selling space this way is possible if the safety can be increased.
Orbital space hotels will also provide opportunities for space sex (400 mile high club).
Space adventure (hard and soft) tourism seems like it could be a $10 billion per year with potential to grow even more.
Bases on the moon
There are mountains on the moon
Newton is considered the deepest crater on the near side of the Moon. It is 6100 meters deep.
One cave, which was formed from “ancient volcanic lava flows,” is more than one mile long and 393 feet wide.
Another cave is 213 feet across and 289 feet deep.
Temperatures on the moon swing wildly, from a maximum of 262 degrees Fahrenheit to a minimum of -292. The cave holds steady at a (relatively) comfortable -4, since the moon’s weather can’t penetrate its 40-foot-thick wall. It could also protect astronauts from “hazardous radiations, micro-meteoritic impacts,” and dust storms.
Other Moon Activities
* moon golf
* moon Olympics and other sports – taking advantage of the low gravity.
If air completely filled a domed crater or one of the big caves, then people could have activities without space suits.
* and of course another place for space sex
Other mountains in the solar system
(1) Olympus Mons – 15.5 miles
The largest volcano on Mars is also the solar system’s tallest mountain. Measuring 374 miles in diameter, it covers about the same amount of land as the state of Arizona. Olympus Mons is located near three other volcanoes known as the Tharsis Montes. The volcanoes in this area are all 10 to 100 times bigger than Earth’s largest volcanoes. They can get this big because, unlike on Earth, there are no plate tectonics on Mars that can drag a volcano away from its hotspot–they just sit in one volcanically active place and grow bigger and bigger.
(2) Rheasilvea Mons – 13.2 miles
Rheasilvea, on the asteroid Vesta, sits at the center of a 300-mile wide crater. The asteroid is currently the subject of a close study by the spacecraft Dawn, which will continue to circle it through the first half of 2012 before moving on for a rendezvous with the asteroid Ceres in 2015. Rheasilvea Mons sometimes gets named the tallest peak in the solar system, but even with satellites and spacecraft monitoring faraway planets, moons and asteroids, measuring these things is rather difficult (which should explain why the numbers for heights given here may differ from what you’ve seen elsewhere–sources often disagree).
(3) Equatorial Ridge of Iapetus – 12.4 miles
Saturn’s moon of Iapetus has a couple of weird features. The first is a huge crater that gives the moon the appearance of the Death Star from Star Wars. The second is an equatorial ridge, with some peaks reaching over 12 miles high, that makes Iapetus look like a walnut. Scientists aren’t quite sure how the ridge formed, but they have hypothesized that it was either the remnant of the moon’s earlier oblate shape, icy material pushed up from beneath the moon’s surface or even the remainder of a collapsed ring.
(4) Ascreaus Mons – 11.3 miles
This volcano on Mars is the tallest of the three volcanoes known as the Tharsis Montes, which appear in a straight line near Olympus Mons. Ascreaus Mons has a central caldera that is 2.1 miles deep. It was first spotted by the Mariner 9 spacecraft in 1971 and then named the North Spot, as it appeared as a spot in a dust storm photographed by the spacecraft. Later images revealed it was a volcano and the spot was renamed.
(5) Boösaule Montes – 10.9 miles
Boösaule Montes is a collection of three mountains on Io, a moon of Jupiter, all connected by a raised plain. The mountain termed “South” is the tallest of the three. One side of the mountain has such a steep slope, 40 degrees, that scientists think that it was the site of a huge landslide.
(6) Arsia Mons – 9.9 miles
This is second tallest volcano from the Tharsis Montes on Mars. Based on the discovery of certain geological features on the volcano, scientists think that Arsia Mons may be home to glaciers.
(7) Pavonis Mons – 8.7 miles
Pavonis Mons is the shortest of the three volcanoes that make up the Tharsis Montes, and it has also been suggested to be home to glaciers.
(8) Elysium Mons – 7.8 miles
This Martian volcano is a big fish in a little pond, metaphorically speaking. It is the tallest volcano in the Elysium Planitia, a region in Mars’ Eastern Hemisphere that is the second largest volcanic system on the planet.
Movies and Entertainment from Space
James Cameron directed space themed movies. James is also an adventurer who could tell a story that would communicate a love for space adventure.
If a real life Avatar space movie were possible
A budget up to $300-400 million movie and a box office of $2.7 billion, with more revenues from DVD-Bluray and follow on revenue
Apollo 13 had a $52 million (1995 dollars) and a box office of $355,237,933 (1995 dollars)
From the Earth to the Moon had a $68 million budget. HBO made $800 million per year around that time and had $100 million per year in DVD sales.
There can be space based reality TV.
Great race or wanna be an astronaut competitions for people to get some of the first space opportunities (early show)
Survivor in Space
X-games in Space
IMAX space movies
Space Station 3-D made $84,756,996 (2002)
The direct from space entertainment can also be linked to theme parks and video games. A few billion dollars per year seems possible for real space entertainment.
With adventure tourism and entertainment leading the way and the development of space infrastructure and the lowering of the cost for space (Spacex falcon heavy and reusable rockets and fuel depots) then colonization will follow. Colonization starting with the workers who are building the moon and orbital bases and providing services for the tourism, entertainment and satellite servicing markets.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.