The exploration and settlement of the Moon is a launchpad for the industrialization of space.
It will be the biggest catalyst in human history for innovation, growth and discovery. And Canada is uniquely capable of leading the way.
In the coming decades there will be a lucrative space race (it has already quietly started) that will mint the first trillionaires and create entirely new industries. Up until now space technology has focused on scientific research and satellites.
Satellites such as communication, weather and GPS satellites have resulted in billions of dollars worth of global economic value. They have become critical pieces of infrastructure without which society would grind to a halt. Settlement of the Moon will result in an order of magnitude more economic value. It will drive innovation in robotics, AI, mining, manufacturing, chemistry, geology, and materials.
Canada stands at the forefront of many of these areas of development. We have an amazing amount of expertise to leverage in robotics, AI, and mining technology. The capability to reach space is quickly becoming a commodity, and as costs drop there are new un-explored opportunities opening up.
It is difficult to fathom just how much valuable energy and materials there are in space. Single asteroids could change rare and expensive metals into cheap abundant ones. The companies that figure out how to mine, refine, and build things with the resources from space will have an unfair share of profits for a very long time.
The trouble is that there is a big chasm between now and that future. There is simply too many unknowns, too many risks for a single company to invest the R&D money into developing space technology. The core infrastructure to get things to the Moon is not yet in place and so few companies will invest in things that would go there. It’s a chicken or egg problem. What comes first: the technology we want to put on the moon or the ability to deploy and support things there?
To solve the impasse requires government to play a role and push both avenues of development with a strong vision, and assurance that it will be seen though to completion.