Mark Wagner, Ph.D.
Introducing Students to The New Space Economy
Updated: Mar 2
In a previous post, we introduced the Space Education Curriculum produced by Space Prize Foundation. Chapter 5 of the newly updated online Flexbook provides students (and educators) an overview of the New Space Economy. Here's a summary from the introduction:
Lesson 5.1 Space Entrepreneurs and Investors outlines space industry growth, billionaire investment, and the financial tools used to finance new space technologies. A growing sector of the space economy is outlined in Lesson 5.2 Launch Providers, with private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX providing launches that are affordable, reliable and sustainable. Lesson 5.3 Satellites, CubeStats, and Constellations explores the space technology that is orbiting above Earth. Our society is dependent on their technology from global communications to weather predictions! The space economy of the future would not be complete without crewed spacecraft. Humans may very well become a multi-planet species in the future, and Lesson 5.4 Crewed Spacecraft outlines the past, present and future potentials of human presence in space.
Space will also become more accessible in the new space economy. Private space companies are ramping up space tourism yearly (learn more in Lesson 5.5 Space Tourism), while government space agencies like NASA have their sights on humans living and working on the Moon. In Lesson 5.6 Return to the Moon, you will explore the details of what living and working on the lunar surface may entail, while even considering what school on the Moon could look like! What about Mars? In Lesson 5.7 Humans on Mars, a multi-planetary future will be detailed. You will explore past missions to Mars and consider the possibilities of city structures on the Red Planet. This will bring you to Lesson 5.8 Asteroid Mining, a sector of the space industry that has the potential for obtaining raw materials. Many of these materials are non-renewable on planet Earth, and asteroids could offer a large supply if space technology meets the challenge of recovering them. Lastly, 5.9 Deep Space Exploration and Opportunity will look well beyond our solar system. Learn more about the technologies in space today that can answer questions about the origins of our galaxy, the geology of other planetary bodies like Pluto, and even future probes that will explore many aspects of outer space.
The new space economy is a fast-growing market, driven by private investments in space innovations. This is why expanding participation will drive progress towards a deeper understanding of space and the human potential within it. Learn more in Unit 5: The New Space Economy.
You can use this free and open education resource with your students (or your own kids) no matter what role you play in formal or informal education. And bonus... this curriculum is supplemented by a guest speaker series showcasing professionals with a wide range of roles in the new space economy. In addition to astronauts, engineers, and scientists, the cohosts talk to a spacecraft interior designer, a space lawyer, a space historian, an astrophotographer and more!
Learn more about the ARES Learning approach in the book Space Education: Preparing Students for Humanity's Multi-Planet Future by our co-founder Dr. Mark Wagner.
Educators, sign up for online professional development based on the book and curriculum. And be sure to register for the FREE online Space Education Summit on April 21, 2023.
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