Public Participation in Space

In yesterday’s first meeting of the Space Brain Trust (meet the Brain Trust experts here), one of the themes that came up was public participation in space by the year 2040.

I think several of the points that were raised could be grouped under this:

  • Everyone will known somebody who has been in space.
  • Space is not only for the happy few.
  • Humans become deep space explorers - with humans living on Earth, the Moon, and Mars.
  • Kids are challenged to think about solving problems for space travel in school.
  • Space has not been militarized and is open to all Earth nations as well as non-governmental interests.

Are there points you would add? Or rewrite? Or remove? Please share your feedback here.

CC @gtwhitesides, @AnoushehAnsari, @interplanetary

These are good bullet points.

A few notes:

‘Space has not been militarized’ - Not YET, but the former president of the US created the first ‘Space Force’ – now a branch of our armed forces (although, in my opinion, this is/was completely unnecessary – we already have US Space Command [a branch of the Air Force] and dozens of military-owned satellites, etc.).

As for space being ‘open to all Earth nations’…Yes, in theory, but in practical reality, it costs billions to establish a space-based platform of some kind (like a space station, or, a rocket launch program), and then many millions to launch even a simple satellite (or 'swarm of cubesats/nanosats [plus, NEO is getting crowded, rapidly) …So, a large chunk of national wealth must be ‘disposable’ for space missions. This precludes most of the worlds nations.

One way to engender Public interest (among all nations) and participation is through calls for public art that will be included (in digital form, usually) on various space missions. This was the case for the 2017 (on-going) OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu (now returning to Earth), wherein this writer’s short video (‘A Dream of Space’ was included along with a couple hundred other art works (visual art and poetry). Although NASA’s public outreach office did not handle the promotion/publicizing of this very well, in my opinion, nonetheless, it generated larger-than-expected public interest in the (rather ‘dry’) mission – not least of which was due to the ‘coolness’ factor and bragging rights.


I totally agree with @marz62. So far, space only appears to be for the happy few and especially from the developed nations, who want to grab every opportunity they get to own a piece of space for their own. For example, the 1m city on Mars where Musk says will govern itself. And when he says that his Dogecoin will be the currency for use there. Why did he send his Tesla to space if he wasn’t looking for ways to literally colonize Mars?
If we want space to be all inclusive, then we must lead by example and as early as now while we are still here on Earth. When we show that developed nations are better than the developing nations and deny them every chance to improve themselves including funding them and only exploit to continuously colonize these nations, isn’t this an example of what will continue to happen when we get to space where the same developing nations will be used to mine these new area while the developing nations enjoy the prestige that the new worlds will offer and the opportunities that come with them.
Developing nations are no longer backward underpriveledged ‘apes’ that they were thought to be while the developed nations exploited the very riched these developing nations had. In fact, going by this theory, developing nations are far much better than developed nations. if only this gap can be bridged by helping the developing nations equal the already developed countries so that we can all go to space together. Otherwise let us not lie to ourselves. Unless we literary change our mindsets, we shall but only duplicate the same problems we have here on Earth wherever we go.

Hi @Aliya and @peregrinus - Would love to know your thoughts on public participation in space in the coming two decades.