The Corporacy of the Cosmos: A Privatization of Space Research Open Access Deposited
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This article explores the evolution of space research conducted under agents of both federal and nonfederal funding; current industrial trends have shifted the center of space research to immediate commercial applications. The rise of patent laws in private industry, utilization of research/technology spillovers from basic research, and efforts to retain appropriability have all incited private space companies to divert from basic space research. Therefore, applied space research receives much more prominence and publicization as does cosmological research that is primarily theoretical in nature. Firstly, this paper discusses the importance of basic space research in the astronomical field. Subsequently, this paper details the distinction between federal and private space research, and specifically the dangers of the trend towards monetization versus theoretical research in the latter. Lastly, this paper presents a possible solution that seeks to address the lack of funding of basic space research: this solution would allow for the private space industry to be financially collaborative with NASA, for research-specific purposes, and would provide for a mutualistic relationship between both agents. An explicit congressional standard should be set that mandates private space companies to return a portion of company profits to Congress, that of which must be injected back into basic space research--five cents of every dollar generated by private space commercial projects should be taxed to Congress. Allocation of these funds towards basic space research projects will allow for a harmonious relationship between industry and federal-agents in the cosmological research arena.