Elon Musk and Spacex could be within five years of radically altering space launch costs and capabilities. Elon and Spacex have been showing for several years that they can produce one time use launch for several times lower cost than established space launch companies. Spacex has achieved low cost and relatively rapid recovery and refurbishment of a first stage. The Space Shuttle and the US government had that goal in the 1970s but did ended up with billion dollar plus costs for relaunch and high labor refurbishment.
The Spacex BFR (Big F**ing Rocket) will be two large stages and fully reusable. This will create the technological platform and capability for something closer to commercial aviation in terms of being similar to the reuse and reflight of planes. The largest uncertainty being the elasticity of demand for space.
Billionaire’s like Jim Mellon, Craig Venter, Peter Thiel and others are believing in radical life extension and investing in companies to develop that capability.
Jim Mellon and Al Chalabi’s wrote a new book Juvenescence: Investing in the Age of Longevity. It is the first time that a group of financially influential individuals have come out and, at length and in detail, outlined why exactly they support the cause of rejuvenation research and why they think it has a good chance of success in the near future.
Jim Mellon’s investment philosophy, which has led him to be recognised as one of the most successful investors of his generation, is underpinned by his ability to identify so-called “money-fountains” – market trends which will lead to step changes and the resulting investment opportunities. “This is the biggest money fountain idea that Al and I have ever seen. The longevity business has quickly moved from wacky land to serious science, and within just a couple of decades we expect average human life expectancy in the developed world to rise to around 110.”
Space launch has shown it can be more difficult, time consuming and costly to pursue less ambitious goals than it is to pursue radically transformative goals.
NASA, Boeing and others had more money and resources than Elon and Spacex and pursued more timid projects. They spend far more money and more time and achieved less.
For life extension, Harvard professor and serial entrepreneur George Church has said it is better to pursue age reversal than it is to try to slow aging. The reason is that a postdoc cannot complete an experiment in slowing human aging in a time that fits into their career. The experiment needs to have results in a year or at most a few years. Slowing human aging does not fit into the timeline of human scientific work. Thus the experiments at slowing aging are with mice and those experiments often do not transfer to humans. Thus it is only workable to try to have experiments to reverse aging.