Just 20 years into the 21st century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We've come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organization.

Air travel around the world and space travel in the solar system will be revolutionized by 2041. In 20 years, hypersonic planes flying five times the speed of sound will shorten time travel from New York City to London in just two hours,1 women will land on the moon and astronauts will travel to Mars. Space will be a place to work, live and find resources.

We will boldly go into space

In 2041, we will have an advanced understanding of the solar system and the possibilities of sustainable space exploration, thanks to scientific research, an awareness that space may be crucial to the survival of humanity and natural human curiosity and innovation.

On Earth, we'll have electric, hybrid and hydrogen-powered aircraft that will enable zero-emission flights. Urban air mobility and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles and even ride-sharing drones will be commonplace.

In space, after landing the first woman on the moon by NASA in 2024,2 more women will be involved in space sciences in 2041 and China will have a permanent manned base on Mars after sending its first crewed mission to the red planet in 2033.3 People will eventually start living and working in space as agencies such as NASA work with private companies to send astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars.

All this innovation will be fuelled by falling costs, in part due to rocket reusability; SpaceX has flown the same rocket booster successfully nine times, reducing the cost per kilogram to around $2,000—compared to $14,000 for NASA's Atlas V rockets. The starships used to travel to Mars will make this even cheaper. Space tourism in 2041 will continue to get cheaper as competition grows for commercial flights.4

And, in two decades, our planet's demand for resources will be met with new, space-based industries such as space mining to obtain raw materials.5

There will be business opportunities for engineering, manufacturing, and consulting. Security and defense will also be significant components in the expansion of space travel, with the U.S. already looking to increase its budget to build out Space Force to compete against competing foreign interests in space. Global partnerships will drive change and interplanetary treaties will govern our economic relationships.

1 Boeing's planned hypersonic airliner could fly from NYC to London in two hours, NBC News, June 28, 2018
2 NASA Publishes Artemis Plan to Land First Woman, Next Man on Moon in 2024, NASA, September 21, 2020
3 U.S.-China Space Race Takes Off As Beijing Announces Crewed Missions To Mars, Forbes, June 24, 2021
4 The future of spaceflight—from orbital vacations to humans on Mars, National Geographic
5 Benefits stemming from space exploration, International Space Exploration Coordination Group, NASA, September 2013

Predictions pulse

Trends, breakthroughs, milestones, and insights on our path towards space travel and holidays on Mars.

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