Space subjects that will get the world’s attention in 2019 and beyond

The first few days of 2019 brought remarkable news from outer space. On January 1 NASA’s New Horizons space probe made the most distant planetary flyby ever, and captured images of a small object 4 billion miles away from earth. The following day, China landed its Chang’e 4 rover, named Jade Rabbit 2, on the far side of the moon – another first.

This suggests that 2019 will be a big year for all things related to space; a suggestion borne out by developments at the International Astronautical Federation’s International Astronautical Congress which I attended. The event is held each year during the first week of October to commemorate the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957, which started the space age.

The 2018 congress was held in Bremen, Germany, and attended by the world’s space agencies, private space companies, engineers, and spaceflight fans. In the past decade, a number of interesting trends have emerged at this congress.

These include which countries are emerging as space powers; what topics get people talking; and what concerns experts have about humanity’s ongoing attempts to become a “multi-planet species” that can live on other planets.

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