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February 6, 2020 10:54 am
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A New Moon Landing Will Be a Gateway to Mars, Says Israeli Space Policy Expert

avatar by Amitay Gazit / CTech

An artist’s rendering of Israeli spacecraft Beresheet on the Moon. Photo: Israel Aerospace Industries.

CTech – In the upcoming decade, humanity will reach the moon again, and that will serve as a jumping point to Mars and that will harness the entire private market, according to Deganit Paikowsky, a vice president at international space advocacy organization the International Astronautical Federation. Speaking Wednesday at Calcalist‘s Industry and Economy conference, held in Tel Aviv in collaboration with Israeli oil refining company Bazan Group, she said that the goal is not a landing but a prolonged stay, which is what will encourage the development of products that enable existence on the moon.

Currently, the space industry has an annual turnover of $850 billion, and in 2019 the private market invested $5.8 billion in the sector, Paikowsky said. “In the upcoming decade, we will see more leveraging of the space industry, and humanity will gradually expand and become more active in space,” she said. “Space is not necessarily a place one can physically occupy it is part of the value chain, especially when it comes to processing related information. The field has changed drastically in the past decade.”

Space technology pertains to many areas of industry today, Paikowsky said — communication, navigation, distance sensing, and civilian and defense products. The origin of these developments dates back two decades, so today’s developing trends will have a great impact on the economy in future decades, she said.

According to Paikovsky, the space sector is seeing a lot more companies and a lot more private investment, with much of the growth concentrating on previously uninvolved markets. “There is a reason Facebook’s CEO is trying to place a satellite above Africa,” she said, adding that space will be part of the digital change of the next decade, in regards to artificial intelligence, IoT, and computing power.

Space is a very strategic industry, and therefore very affected by global changes — not just the struggle between the US and China but the activity of countries like India, Japan, and France, Paikowsky said. “In the last decade, the balance between the private market and the state has changed. Today, the private market leads space innovation, and the state is just a partner. The interesting question is how countries harness private companies for their national efforts.”

Future space innovations, such as mega-connectivity between hundreds of satellites that will create waste and crowding, will increase issues of responsibility and regulation, Paikowsky said. Commercial space flights will become available, though at first only for the very wealthy. It will be the responsibility of countries to provide the infrastructure and regulation for all these developments, and to advance collaboration with the private market, she said.

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