During the 11th International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Space Exploration Conference in Torino, Italy, Antoine Faddoul introduced a new approach to evaluate space resources. Faddoul, who is also a member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, explained that while space economy is currently based on traditional satellites, communication, launching systems, and space cargo, the future of space mining, space tourism, and even space sports is just down the road.
Space sports are often pushed into the far future assuming that they need extremely advanced technologies. Even in science fiction shows, sports in space are associated with securing future technology. However, space sports can be practiced with current technology. Astronauts on the International Space Station have been practicing sorts of football and soccer along other activities, with some changes in the rules because of microgravity and limited space.
“But even the first Olympics in history in 776 BC [sic] consisted of only one type of sports activity, the 200 meter running race,” explains Faddoul who thinks that space sports can start with simple activities and are beneficial to space economy, science, and exploration.
So, can humans practice recreational activities such as running, hiking, or camping on the Moon any time soon? Faddoul showed “Luna Castra,” a lunar project that he designed five years ago, as an example of combining entertainment and scientific activities. “It consists of semi-permanent structures on the Moon for hobbyists and scientists in a set of lunar sporting activities. Luna Castra runs trips to the Moon, including landing on and living (for short intervals) on its surface before returning to Earth.” The private citizens can go along with professional astronauts and stay for a week or two, which is a little longer than the Apollo missions in which astronauts stayed on the Moon for a couple days.
Sport activities attract people and enterprises that are not involved in the space travel field. That could include corporations in the sports industry, and introduces commercial space involvement in launches and support of space games. Starting sports activities for the public on the Moon brings in advantages that serve scientific and economic aspects alike, which encourage public-private space travel cooperation. The necessary developments to launch more trips to the Moon would contribute direct technological benefits for the space travel sector.
A successful record of landing humans on the Moon and returning them to Earth encourages the commercial space sector that prefers to invest in tested projects over riskier uncharted ones.
Usually, space projects take time to generate income, but in this case early phases of such projects allow early involvement of private citizens, which promises early revenue and improves commercial chances. The habitats, gear, and gadgets developed for such projects have earthly use and could be produced for remote or challenging geographical regions.
Studies of the physiological and psychological effects on space travelers will intensify with the increased number of travelers. Assessing the design elements for humans, habitats, equipment, and gadgets under negligible pressure, partial gravity, and insignificant atmosphere is needed for a future permanent lunar base and for long-term planetary missions, such as the anticipated Mars missions.
Faddoul believes that space sports’ missions revolutionize the traditional thinking of space economy. “Not only would chartering space sports play an essential role in in developing space economy, but it will also help driving space travel forward and realizing milestones on the road map to planetary travel,” he concludes.
The IAA Symposium on the Future of Space Exploration 2019 was convened under the title “Moon, Mars and Beyond: Becoming an Interplanetary Civilization.” Faddoul presented three more topics including: Current, Anticipated, and Required Technology Milestones for a Road Map to the Stars; Human Aspects in Crewing and Phasing In Extended Space Journeys; and Sustainable Design for Extended Space Travel.