Gathering and delivering resources from Earth is ultimately too expensive and unsustainable for space exploration in the long term.

Emphasis has been made on extracting resources while in space, such as establishing a space elevator for launching cargo and people, a lunar or orbital production base for making products like structural elements, fuel, food, and other things you need for long term operations. Modern computers and networking technology makes it possible to do much of the work by remote control. So it's possible to have robots to work preparing for when the humans arrive, and to assist us once we get there.

Which supply chain burdens that need to be addressed in the next 30 years for more accessible private and commercial space travel?

What technologies are being developed to address these hurdles? Which have the most potential?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is a very broad topic. However, the top of the list is ISRU - in-situ resource utilization - getting water/oxygen/hydrogen/other valuable substances from locally abundant resources (ice, carbon dioxide, regolith). $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '13 at 18:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A really good question but it might be overly broad. Can you focus a little more, and maybe create other questions that are not so braod? $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '13 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ I've narrowed the scope to address the top 3-5 technical burdens for near-earth exploration. $\endgroup$
    – Krazer
    Jul 23 '13 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ Near-earth exploration is ill-defined. Other than the Moon, there is precious little to explore. (A Lagrange point station and LEO stations are all nice, but not really exploratory in character). $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '13 at 20:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree this is too broad, but I think "Top 5" questions are even worse. I think it can be saved if you take it in a slightly different direction: more specific and not in the "top x" manner $\endgroup$
    – JohnB
    Jul 24 '13 at 19:02