We face unprecedented resource stresses in the 21st Century such as global climate disruptions, freshwater scarcity, expanding energy demands, and the threat of global pandemics. Historically, societies have relieved resource stress by increasing trade, innovating technologically, expanding territorially, regulating, redistributing, making alliances, creating new economic models, training new skills, as well as conducting war. Do we continue depleting our already strained resources leading to more regulation, redistribution, alliances, new economics, and war or do we grow our resources using innovation, expansion, new economics, and new skills? We present the argument for evolving space development using asteroid mining as the primary activity for frontier expansion aided by Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Moon, and Mars waystations. Forecast space weather is a necessary technology baseline for developing this pathway. All activity off Earth will require a fundamental knowledge of how the energetics of space will affect technological progress. We discuss the critical elements this space economy expansion, including technical feasibility and infrastructure development, economic and geopolitical viability complete with the US National Space Weather Program dialogue, ethical and legal considerations, and risk management. This discussion helps us understand how a space economy is feasible with the aggregation of many existing and new technologies into more advanced systems’ engineering projects.

Timothy Kodikara

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