When future historians look back at 2010-2050

When historians look back at the period from 1490 to 1530, the main way they frame it is that it was part of the Renaissance (1400-1700) and the beginning of the Age of Exploration (1500-1800).

The successful Spacex BFR (150 ton fully reusable rocket) will be part of starting a true space age.

With the first few BFR launches they will be able to establish

Massive orbital fueling and support stations.
Orbital industrial capacity, science facilities
An on the moon lunar base
An orbiting the moon lunar space station
L5 and other lagrange point bases
Large missions to asteroids

They will be able to launch thousands of internet satellites in the first few launches. A global low earth orbit internet satellite network could generate over $30+ billion per year. A fleet of 40 to 400 fully reusable Spacex BFR rockets averaging about one launch per week would have 2000 to 20,000 launches per year. This would be moving 300,000 to 3 million tons of payload. This will be taking space industry up to 100 to 1000 times.

When future historians look back at the period from 2010 to 2050, it will be seen as the beginning of the true space age and part of a second renaissance.

Looking back the first Age of exploration and the Renaissance

The rediscovery of ancient texts and the invention of printing democratized learning and allowed a faster propagation of more widely distributed ideas. In the first period of the Italian Renaissance, humanists favored the study of humanities over natural philosophy or applied mathematics, and their reverence for classical sources further enshrined the Aristotelian and Ptolemaic views of the universe.

A suitable environment had developed to question scientific doctrine. The discovery in 1492 of the New World by Christopher Columbus challenged the classical worldview. The works of Ptolemy (in geography) and Galen (in medicine) were found to not always match everyday observations. As the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation clashed, the Northern Renaissance showed a decisive shift in focus from Aristotelean natural philosophy to chemistry and the biological sciences (botany, anatomy, and medicine). The willingness to question previously held truths and search for new answers resulted in a period of major scientific advancement.

Some view this as a “scientific revolution”, heralding the beginning of the modern age, others as an acceleration of a continuous process stretching from the ancient world to the present day.

The invention of printing was to have great effect on European society: the facilitated dissemination of the printed word democratized learning and allowed a faster propagation of new ideas.

The Age of Discovery or the Age of Exploration was from the end of the 15th century to the 18th century, was an informal and loosely defined European historical period marking the time period in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and the beginning of globalization. It also marks the rise of the period of widespread adoption in Europe of colonialism and mercantilism. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered during this period, though most were already inhabited. From the perspective of many non-Europeans, the Age of Discovery marked the arrival of invaders from previously unknown continents.

Global exploration started with the Portuguese discoveries of the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, the coast of Africa, and the discovery of the sea route to India in 1498; and, on behalf of the Crown of Castile (Spain), the trans-Atlantic Voyages of Christopher Columbus between 1492 and 1502, and the first circumnavigation of the globe in 1519–1522.

True Space Age and second Renaissance

The modern equivalent to printing press is of course the internet, MOOC (massive open online learning) and getting smartphones and tablets to every person on earth.

To achieve that means electrification for everyone including the last 1.1 billion. This will require solar and batteries to every last household.

Accenture Plc and Microsoft Corp are teaming up to build a digital ID network using blockchain technology, as part of a United Nations-supported project to provide legal identification to 1.1 billion people worldwide with no official documents. Providing identification will enable financial and basic services and engagement in the world economy for those 1.1 billion people.

The internet and effective search and effective voice communication with computers (Amazon Alexa, Google Echo and Apple Siri etc…) and augmented reality will enable raised productivity levels, digital inclusion and accelerated learning.

The rise of effective artificial intelligence and quantum computing beyond classical computing will also mark the age of 2010-2050.

Gene editing, disease cures (various cancer cures, hepatitis, malaria elimination etc…), DNA nanotechnology and then true molecular nanotechnology will also mark the age of 2010-2050.

Nextbigfuture described the big technologies and impacts from now to 2027 in a recent article.