Should astronomy join the new space economy?

New article recently published in the prepress database makes some strong and convincing arguments for the commercialization of space astronomical missions.

“I am arguing that large-scale scientific experiments are becoming comparable to land-based civilian infrastructures in terms of cost,” Gillem Anglada-Escude wrote in his report. “As a result, they must include return on investment plans (or impact, not necessarily economic), require a different approach to coordination between departments within the European Space Agency (ESA) and greater involvement of all stakeholders in society (representatives of civil society and the general public). “

Anglada-Escude claims this the excessive costs associated with new observatories and missions are usually reserved for large civic projects that come with many tangible public benefits; whereas the benefits of astronomical projects are not well understood or well received by the public.

Second, astronomical projects have long periods of 10 to 20 years to move the mission from the planning stage to actual data collection. This means that investors do not see a quick return on their money and that scientists may have to dedicate their entire lives to just one mission.

Anglada-Escudé offers the following solution to these problems: Creation of astronomical projects with direct public benefit. He argues that astronomers should focus on smaller, cheaper programs and take advantage of already funded programs such as the many satellites launched by telecommunications companies.

In addition, the astronomical community could work with engineers, architects, energy suppliers and other professionals to make their projects more profitable and perhaps even provide a return on investment by reviewing what else astronomical missions can be used for. .

For example, can a new astronomical observatory provide any direct public benefit? Then in any way this benefit must be used to build the observatory.

The document offers a new smart way to approach the future of astronomical projects, which could be very good. it literally pays off.

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