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Gresham College: Our Future Off Earth | Christopher Impey


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What are the latest developments in Space investigation? What might the future hold? …When might we start living on Mars?

The Space Age is half a century old. Its early successes were driven by a fierce superpower rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States, which tended to obscure the fact that exploration and risk-tasking is built into human DNA. Decades after we last set foot on the moon, space activity is finally taking off. A vibrant private sector, led by SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, plans to launch supplies cheaply into earth orbit, and giving people the chance of a sub-orbital joyride. Fighting gravity will always be difficult but new materials are being developed and engineers are rethinking rockets and developing new propulsion technologies.

Permanent bases on the Moon and Mars are now within reach, and a new Space Race is brewing. We can now envisage our future off-Earth.