Greg Burch wrote:
>Is this latter mission for ISS really viable in
>the time before, say, 2025 or so? I know
>there's been quite a bit of talk lately about
>"space tourism", but I'm skeptical of this as
>a viable economic development within the next
>25 years (after a fairly advanced nanotechnology
>is developed, yes). I'd be especially curious to
>hear the thoughts of younger folks who may well
>not be infected so strongly with the "space station
I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm 25, and most of my generation seems to share little enthusiasm for space travel. I think part of this comes from the increased knowledge we have about our universe today. 30 years ago many people still thought there might be intelligent life on mars. Now we've used our telescopes to explore the deep reaches of space and have found it to be incredibly vast and . . . boring.
The final frontier for the post-October Sky generation is the mind, not space. Neuroscience, psychology, AI and the like are the fields that capture the imaginations of the adventurors who want to explore unknown territory. The computer and psychaitry industries are already worth billions of dollars with tremendous growth prospects. Economically I'd rate these areas of enterprise as far more viable than space travel, as well as more important. From a social welfare perspective, nano and biotech should probably be a higher priority than space exploration.