How Neil deGrasse Tyson Feels About The Privatization Of Space Exploration

Neil deGrasse Tyson has, for some time now, thought it delusional to believe that SpaceX, or any company for that matter, is going to lead the charge into the final frontier because the endeavor is just too costly. After all, exploring the cosmos is very expensive, very dangerous, and defies every common-sense business model needed to make money. Instead, Tyson believes a private company will need to be supplemented by large entities, like NASA or even whole countries, that have much broader expectations for a return on investment, according to The Verge

The astrophysicist pointed out that the initial race to the moon in the 1960s was driven by a military need to best the Russians rather than purely scientific achievement. And he feels mankind might need another defining event, some motivation, to push space exploration forward again. However, he feels there is great value in what the world's billionaires like Musk, Bezos, and Branson are doing by bringing so much attention back to the advancement of space travel.

Private space companies should deliver groceries and take us on joy rides

Space tourism and "hauling groceries" to the International Space Station aren't the same as deep space exploration. Using his solar system as a globe analogy, Tyson told "CBS This Morning" viewers that in comparison, the space station is only 3/8 of an inch above the Earth's surface, equating to a mere 250 miles above sea level. Private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic aren't even taking passengers that high or staying up for very long. Again, because trips into space are both expensive and dangerous, he feels it will be far more complex and time-consuming for them to get people and resources to Mars. 

However, these private companies are making space cheaper and more accessible by creating reusable rockets and delivery systems that will eventually drive down the cost of tourism and, hopefully, space exploration.

Tyson feels space is for everyone and that tourism should have started decades ago. Still, he concedes that the exploration of deep space — actually advancing the frontier — is what NASA should be focused on (via "CBS This Morning"). At the same time, the private companies should continue promoting commercial space tourism and making regular Uber Eats deliveries to the ISS.