I saw on twitter that Alex MacDonald’s paper on comparing the private funding of astronomical observatories and space exploration is finally up. It’s a fascinating read. I met Alex at New Space conference last year, and he showed me some of his research. His hypothesis is that astronomical observatories were the “space exploration” of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and a large percentage of that was funded by wealthy individuals who wanted to leave their mark on society. He points out that a lot of the discovery-driven, privately-funded observatories of the day were actually significant expenditures compared to the wealth of the individual funding them or of the nation’s GDP as a whole. His point was that the Bezoses and Musks of the day were just continuing what used to be the dominant trend.
As I said, very well worth the read, since it’s only 3pgs. I think he may be working on a more detailed paper as part of a Master’s Thesis or PhD dissertation, though I could be misremembering.
And now back to continued light blogging.
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