The COVID-19 pandemic is taking precedence over almost everything at the moment, but the future is still unfolding as fast as before.
For a start, the space race continues at break neck speed. President Donald Trump has just signed an executive order outlining some rules for the exploitation of resources in space and particularly on the moon. While, apparently, this executive order has been in the pipeline for a year, the timing is interesting.
As we reported in a recent Friday Futures, there is an asteroid heading our way that is worth – in raw materials alone – $10,000 quadrillion. And NASA is talking seriously to SpaceX about hitching a ride to go and have a look.
Meanwhile, plans for the future of the moon is unfolding fast, having been quiet for some time. Trump is apparently talking to the people at giant earth moving company Caterpillar about the possibilities of mining on the moon.
While all this might seem a little like science fiction, it is fast becoming science fact. The only real problem is that space has always been considered international and beyond ‘privatisation’. As you can imagine, Russia and several countries further East might have an issue if Trump tries to grab the goods for himself. The space race could turn nasty.
The future is unfolding fast in how we see the Universe as well. Recent advances in telescope technology have allowed to see further, faster and in more detail than ever before. NASA has recently started funding research for a Solar Gravational Lens whose resolution is so good that the hope is that it can spot vegetation on distant planets. Already scientists are able to release videos of black holes spewing matter into the firmament. This one is a mere 5 billion light years away from earth.
If you think that this is all just ‘progress’ there is a real sense of a future that is unfolding in ways that we have never considered before. In short, it seems as the search for other life in the Universe is about to go into overdrive. Mind you, some astronauts and other observers believe that we don’t need to look in space for aliens. They are, apparently, already here and living amongst us.
Our ability to observe so much better is also fuelling our exploration of that other frontier, the oceans. One recent discovery was a siphonophore spotted off the coast of Western Australia. This UFO-like creature, made up of millions of clones measures over 120 metres long. And, when set against looking at distant galaxies for new forms of life, it is literally under our noses.
While we continue to battle COVID-19, it is a refreshing exercise to search for things that are still racing ahead, both in outer space and the deepest oceans. The pace is increasing and the future is unfolding in ways that will challenge our imaginations. Thank goodness we had the experience of Star Trek to get us used to the future.