Why The SpaceX Falcon 9 Landing Matters, And What It Means For Our Future

The future of humanity lies in space. We need the resources from asteroids, we need to explore the other planets in our solar system, and we need to build science labs in the depths of space to perform experiments and understand the fabric of the universe. But first we have to get there, and get back again safely, which is why SpaceX finally successfully landing a rocket is such good news for the human race.

In broad strokes, it’s simple. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was launched into orbit, deployed a few satellites, and returned to Earth, using jets to stabilize itself and touch down on a Florida launchpad. By itself, this is a big deal, because it means one of the most expensive parts of launching something, or somebody, into space just got both much easier and a lot cheaper. Until now, rockets were essentially billions of dollars spent to use once and then throw away for good into the ocean, making space travel enormously expensive and out of the reach of all but governments.

Reducing the cost of sending people and supplies into space opens an enormous vista of possibility. The Falcon 9 will still need a litany of other test flights and whether it can be recycled is an open question. But if resupply and recrew missions suddenly drop dramatically in price, that will open up space to more public and private exploration. Instead of building spaceships on the ground, parts can be sent into orbit and ships can be built away from Earth’s gravity. Dangerous experiments can be relocated away from the planet, allowing us to push our knowledge further. Colonizing the moon is suddenly a far less expensive, although still difficult, prospect.

In short, with this landing, SpaceX might have just brought a future in space that much closer. And we can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

(Via NPR)