Space in next 100 years
With rapid expansion in technology, it may be difficult to say what the next 60 years will bring. Nothing can be done in space without first imagining what we could do, so, here is an attempt to predict the future.
Commercial Spaceflight - Its literally here right now, but it's going to get even cheaper in the future. The next step will be space tourism, but that won't be accessible to the average person for a few decades at least.
Space Construction - We've already done this with space stations, but cheaper commercial spaceflight will encourage larger buildings in space. Instead of launching completed modules as we have in the past, we're going to be launching subdivisions of modules that will dwarf even the ISS. I'm incredibly optimistic about whatever happens to be the "next ISS".
Asteroid Mining - This one we probably won't see in our lifetimes, (unless the futurists are right, and the first person to live to 200 is alive today). However, the potential of asteroid mining is astronomical! There are individual asteroids with more platinum and tungsten on them than the entire Earth has available. Once we have these materials in excess, who knows what new developments we'll see. Aluminum used to be exceedingly difficult to refine and rare. Once a reliable refining process was developed, we found a myriad of uses for aluminum that changed the world. I predict we'll see similar benefits from improved access to rare metals found abundantly in asteroids.
Space tourism - Now that we've got commercial spaceflight, and space construction is on the horizon, space tourism will become a booming industry. I'd be excited to spend a week on a luxury space station in the future.
Mars - We're definitely going at some point, whether it is publicly or privately funded. I doubt there are any monsters there, or that we'll have any visitors forced to grow potatoes with their excrement. However, Mars is the next logical destination for humanity's domination of the solar system. I hope I live to see the first colonization effort!
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