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Jan 04, 2017 12:17 AM EST

Space Industry Outlook 2017: 4 Out-of-this-world Predictions [Video]

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For decades, NASA single-handedly drove space explorations and research. However, new private entrants have joined the space race making it one thriving industry.

Notable business figures and major space players include Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin). These companies have invested heavily in building rockets, exploring and eventually colonizing Mars and making space travel available to everyone in the near future.

Fast Company interviewed Chad Anderson, CEO of the Space Angels Network to identify trends to look forward to this year and he gave 4 major predictions:

Governments play a bigger role

NASA has always been the authority when it comes to space. Startups utilize their research and others look to provide services to the government agency. While the fate of the space program remains unclear in the Trump Administration, governments around the world are clearly interested in investing in space.

Luxembourg invested in asteroid mining research and Japan wants to probe Venus.

NBC News also reported that China wants to explore the moon and attempt to return lunar samples. It also reported that the European Space Agency ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter will be sniffing out the methane gases in the Red Planet this year.

New space laws

Private space companies are also lobbying for a new space law. Specifically, one that will allow them to claim and own a portion of what they discover in space. This, according to Anderson will provide private firms with the incentive and motivation to take the investment risk.

The current space law in place is The Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 that prohibits ownership and installation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in outer space.

Anderson suggests the new space law to be patterned after the Homestead Acts of 1866.

Space tourism

Anderson predicts this can happen this year. While it may take the bravest of us to risk leaving their families and careers behind to pioneer on space, as soon as we have the right infrastructure in place, people will line up to see what it's like out there.

Loosened up launches

There will be more and exciting launches this year according to Anderson as technological advances makes commercial launches rely less on NASA and its resources. The moon will continue to be a destination of choice for most launches though NASA have set it sights on Mars, just like SpaceX and even further.

                                                            

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