The new space capitalists
Religion & Liberty Online

The new space capitalists

(Photo credit: Associated Press)

After SpaceShipOne was awarded the Ansari X Prize last year, Paul G. Allen became “the best-known member of a growing club of high-tech thrillionaires, including the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who find themselves with money enough to fulfill their childhood fascination with space,” reports John Schwartz in today’s New York Times.

The success of private space flight is built on the broken dreams of the government’s space program. Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, a co-founder of the X Prize, says, “There is sufficient wealth controlled by individuals to start serious space efforts.” But under NASA’s tenure, “The dreams and expectations that Apollo launched for all these entrepreneurs have failed to materialize. And in fact, those who look into it realize that the cost of going into space has gone up and the reliability has, effectively, gone down.”

This article in The New Atlantis by Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, a space advocacy group, “Getting Space Exploration Right,” gives an excellent in-depth review of NASA’s shortcomings over the last thirty years. Unfortunately, Zubrin does little to discuss the possibilities of private initiative in space flight.

As shown by the success of the Ansari X Prize, NASA is not the only option. You can read my further reflections on the implications of space travel here, “Stewards of the Cosmos.”

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.