Never before has the impossible seemed so probable
The rapid rate of technological change is usually experienced with regard to the Internet or the devices we use to connect with it. Think smartphones, AI, mobile connectivity, or self-driving cars.
Yet one of the focused applications of advanced technology continues to be space exploration and research.
This article was written by Jesse Hirsh of Axis Of Easy.com.
SpaceX gets a lot of attention for their advances in rocketry and their growing low earth orbit-based Internet service, but they’re but one part of a fast-growing sector that is making the possibility of off-planet tourism and industry a reality.
Canada has historically been an active participant in aerospace research and development, and as this field becomes more accessible, a relatively small country like Canada has to think strategically as to how to take advantage of both changes in the global industry but also domestic priorities and capabilities.
Springboard Policy collaborated with our friend Vass Bednar and regs2riches to produce a report that sought to both contribute to the development of Canadian space policy while also expanding participation in the process overall:
We are entering a new era of space exploration. New opportunities are on the horizon — from commercial space activities to scientific missions deeper in space than we have ever traveled before. Different actors have entered the fore with an increasing number of spacefaring nations and private sector actors.
Space has the potential to improve the lives of Canadians. Activities in this sector may create jobs, generate wealth, and deliver scientific advancements that enhance well-being. But there are obstacles to realizing these benefits. A number of issues remain, that if left unaddressed, stand in the way of ensuring that the future of space exploration is safe, sustainable, and fair and equitable.
This report is a great read and offers an excellent primer on some of the issues relevant to Canada but also part of larger global space policy debates.
A tangible example is Internet access. On the one hand, Starlink the SpaceX LEO service is celebrated as a cure for the digital divide. Yet, on the other hand, it could contribute to further altering the night sky and adding to the dangerous potential of space pollution. What if a better space policy would allow us to both offer rural connectivity as well as manage space resources to prevent pollution and unnecessary interference with the view?
A fascinating story, albeit exaggerated a little in how it has been presented. Interestingly it is about research that was published over a year ago. No surprise that there’s been big news in the world of microbiology and viruses.
Meanwhile thanks to the reader who sent in this bit of research:
Most technologies are made from steel, concrete, chemicals, and plastics, which degrade over time and can produce harmful ecological and health side effects. It would thus be useful to build technologies using self-renewing and biocompatible materials, of which the ideal candidates are living systems themselves. Thus, we here present a method that designs completely biological machines from the ground up: computers automatically design new machines in simulation, and the best designs are then built by combining together different biological tissues. This suggests others may use this approach to design a variety of living machines to safely deliver drugs inside the human body, help with environmental remediation, or further broaden our understanding of the diverse forms and functions life may adopt.
I did a segment on the research and offered my own thoughts on what this is and what it means:
And here’s some video of the experiments: