The next frontier - GulfToday

The next frontier


Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson

Is space travel going the internet way? Joshua Jahani could not have been clearer: “we should not repeat the mistakes we made with the internet and wait for the technology to be abused before we step in” (“Space travel is not the plaything of billionaires. It is ‘the final frontier’ both physically and economically,” July 29, Gulf Today).

When Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet, he envisaged that his discovery would benefit all of humankind. It has, but the flip side is that it is being controlled by a select few. They decide what you read, see and hear. The keys of your house are no longer with you. They can lock you out whenever they deem fit.

Like the internet, space exploration threatens to be dominated again by a select few. If it is not regulated at its nascent stage, which is now, future trajectory may not be much different on the way internet is being monopolized today.

As the narrative points out “Space tourism can and should be about much more than giving the 1 per cent another Instagrammable moment, and increasing the wealth of the billionaires who provide the service.” But for that to happen, the industry needs to be regulated by none other than government entities across the globe. A global business model for space needs to be devised, as space is not the property of any one nation.

The author has given a fitting solution if governments will listen. “If we want it to be a success, we should learn from our triumphs and failures back on earth and apply them to space now.”

Kamal Shauqat
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