Pinkerton: The Final Frontiers: Cyber Space, Outer Space, and the Permanent Lure of Exploration

While profit and national security are key factors in our pursuit of outer space, there is also the innate human desire to strive, to seek, and to find. We are going to outer space because we are curious—and organized curiosity is about as powerful a force as there is in human nature. We are going for the reasons that inspired President Kennedy: because space is there, and because it’s cool. Indeed, those of us who will never go to space should count ourselves as lucky to be alive at a time of renewed exploratory curiosity. We are fortunate to be blessed with sturdy souls—in the public and private sectors—who are willing to take up the challenge of space-questing.

Pinkerton: The U.S.-China Competition: Cyberspace and Outer Space

In our first installment, we noted that in the distant past, China had invented key technologies—for war-fighting and ocean-voyaging—and yet had failed effectively to develop them. So now let’s consider the possible fate of another country, the United States. In the 20th century, America broke ground in two technological frontiers: cyberspace and outer space. Both now face serious competition from China. As we shall see, the U.S. chose to develop effectively one of these technologies, but not the other. So could the U.S. today be making the same sort of mistake that China made in the past? We’ll likely know the answer to that question sometime in this century, but even now, the early warning signs are ominous.