The space race is back but on the private side. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin launched and safely landed their rocket safely. Elon Musk's firm answered. If you know the early space race duels between the US and USSR the Russians would do something, the Americans would race to catch up, and then when the Americans caught up, the Russians would so something at a higher level. Nice cover for ICBM development. As Land writes, this makes the Bezos-Musk duel fun and great to witness.
I am torn on Musk. He is brilliant and he is also the most industrious welfare queen ever. Tesla cars are fantastic, but why don't they ramp up production if they have so many people signing up to buy them? it is fun to watch though, and I wonder when he gets to the moon. Musk standing in a moon base doing a press conference streamed online or on television is where I see this going. SpaceX will put men and material in space, and acts in the gambling, ambitious manner one would hope a billionaire would be.
In the comments section to the xenosystems post, I wondered when Musk would work with the Japanese. A criticism of Musk is that this is all being done with government money. Yes, but he is successful with what he uses. The Japanese had a program that they suspended of creating a robotic moon base. It had a $2 billion price tag. A robotic moon base has advantages for first, not needing to rely on human physical limitations for time on the moon and also as a base from which to build a base capable of supporting humans. It is a smart approach to anything permanent on the moon: send robots first to build for humans until you are ready for them.
The Japanese love to find new government spending programs. Elon Musk knows how to work government officials. When does this marriage take place, and Musk runs the Japanese program to build a moon base or get to the moon? Musk can use the Japanese for their money and motivation, and the Japanese can use him. It seems a good marriage. For a man who takes personal risks, it feels right. May humanity see it happen.