The space exploration industry has expanded greatly in the last 15 years. Where there was once only NASA and other government run space programs, there are now almost 200 different private space companies receiving non-government funding to accomplish their business goals. Despite that, however, public perception of companies like SpaceX and Boeing is difficult to gauge due to the separation between the work those companies are doing and the parts that are shown to the public. As space exploration continues to expand, virtual and augmented reality technologies should help bridge the gap between what we imagine and what we can see.
Space Exploration Growth
Space exploration companies have begun sprouting up in the last 15 years, stirring public interest and engagement. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, is one of the top companies in the space industry as the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit. The company employs over 6000 people and has contracted over 100 launches with ambitions of enabling life on other planets. Other space technology companies like Boeing, which creates satellites and rockets, and Virgin Galactic, which aims to provide suborbital space flights to space tourists, are also drawing interest as space exploration popularity grows.
These accomplishments would not have been possible without the growth created by NASA, which has been conducting space exploration and developing technologies since 1958. By working with some of the world’s top engineers, NASA invented technologies in the process of planning for space exploration that serve many purposes in a civilian’s daily life. These include temper foam, which is used in memory foam mattresses; and automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators, which prevent arrhythmia in patients with erratic and abnormal heart rhythms.
These small inventions are only a few of many breakthrough technologies that occur when attempting to find solutions for space exploration obstacles. The breakthroughs and problems solved along the way help engage the public in the space exploration industry and drive investors to join forces with these companies. This helps peak public interest and increase space tech stock value, even if much of the work being done is difficult for the general public to understand.
VR and AR Influence
There’s a lot of interest among space fanatics for the select details that are shared with them by space exploration technology companies. This interest could be heightened if these companies created technology that allowed interested parties to have closer insight to what they’re doing through the use of virtual reality. Combining technologies is a great way to connect the dots in space exploration and can expand the space exploration audience.
While space exploration has grown extensively in the last 15 years, virtual reality (VR) has also made many strides in visual performance and accessibility. By advancing the sensory abilities of VR and augmented reality (AR), tech companies have created a technology that serves as a new channel for media. VR and AR create a new experience and method to share information between businesses and consumers.
According to George Washington University, VR-based pieces of content exhibit 34 percent longer engagement than alternatives presented on traditional screens. This data could push VR marketing into the future, making it a normal avenue for consumer engagement. As SpaceX and Virgin Galactic grow and expand to be accessible and provide services to lower and middle classes, VR could provide a way for people to see what these companies are seeing in outer space. While trips to space are not realistic for most people at this time, NASA is already using VR and AR to showcase space exploration and provide insight into their projects.
As the space industry continues to grow, and the skies and stars become a shared space for anyone who can afford it, space travel will no longer be seen as a government dominated field, nor as the work of sci-fi films. The number of launches will increase and the government will likely become involved in the projects of private companies in order to regulate intergalactic property rights.
As space exploration becomes more common, VR can help the public connect with the obscurity of space travel, and will likely become a learning tool for college students who study physics and are interested in the space industry. When deciding on a university, 25 percent of college students select a school that best matches their interests and needs, which often coincide with technology trends. As space technology grows, so will the educational demand for schools that accommodate those who wish to enter into that field.
There are many identifiable trends surrounding VR, AR and space technology, as stocks in these markets have shown steady growth over the last several years. VR and AR have already become common place for certain industries and it’s only a matter of time before consumer demand for space travel insight combines VR with the space industry.