On Moon Landings and Space Odysseys

Photo by NASA

Photo by NASA

As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is commemorated, governments and private organizations around the world are planning new space opportunities.  

American views of space travel and the role of NASA (from a 2018 Pew Research Center study) include:

  • 72% say it is essential that the U.S. continue to be a world leader in space exploration.

  • 50% say there will be routine space travel for tourists before 2068

Regarding views on what NASA’s top priorities should be:

  • 63% - believe space should be used to monitor Earth’s climate system

  • 62% - monitor asteroids/objects that could hit the earth

  • 47% - conduct basic research to increase knowledge of space

  • 41% - develop technologies that could be adapted for other uses

  • 31% - search for life and planets that could support life

  • 18% - send astronauts to Mars

  • 13% - send astronauts to the moon

Other notes

  • NASA plans another human landing on the moon by 2024, via its Artemis project.

  • Among its other tasks, NASA tracks over 500,000 pieces of space junk and over 2,000 satellites orbiting the earth.


  • Insufficient funding is an impediment to the next lunar landing. Participation by nimble commercial players should improve the viability of this project and other space efforts.

  • Cleaning up space junk and assuring satellite safety is essential for the continued operation of strategic communication/information services. Competition among and conflicts between governments and commercial players will create opportunities and challenges in the management of space assets.

  • Interest in sending astronauts to the moon or Mars may currently be low, but overall interest in space exploration and travel is high. Expect 1) costs to decline, 2) new technologies and services to be introduced and 3) the need for space governance to increase.

Paul Dravis