Latest Issue

Lab report

Space travel is finally being commercialised; even Nasa is bowing to market forces. Plus, scientists plan to decode a thousand genomes—but is that enough?

By Philip Ball   March 2008

Nasa bows to the market

Privately funded research and development has driven scientific advances in many fields. But some of the most costly areas of science, such as high-energy physics and space exploration, lack obvious commercial potential and have traditionally relied on the public purse. For space, that looks set to change. Billionaires can buy their way on to the International Space Station (ISS), which now looks like an expensive advertising hoarding, disowned by scientists and prey to publicity stunts like the $1m delivery of a Pizza Hut pizza in 2001.

Yet bigger things are afoot. In…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect