Richard Garriott—the famously eccentric video game pioneer and tireless proselytizer of private, commercial space flight—is set on proving that space is a place in which to turn a profit.
The first step to making bank outside the boundaries of planet Earth? Getting your commercially viable project into orbit. And in a presentation at SXSW on Saturday in which he laid out a hopes-and-dreams-filled thirty-year vision for space exploration (it culminates in one-way missions to Mars), Garriott made the case that in the very near future it will be easier and cheaper to do so, thanks in part to a boom in public-private partnerships that are creating competition and driving down costs and whiz-bang advances that have set us on a course toward reusable space craft.
So if the cost of space travel were to drop—and in Garriott’s estimation it’ll fall from “hundreds of millions down to the ones of millions”—what sorts of commercial endeavors would the Austin-based entrepreneur suggest investing in? “Biological research is the first low-hanging fruit,” he says, pointing specifically to the area of vaccine development. Other recommendations: solar-powered generators and asteroid mining.
You can listen to Garriott’s full talk here.