A special report on the forces shaping space

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Deep Dive - Space Race

Special report: The new global race to space

Illustrated collage of globe and triangle pattern
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A few years ago, a Silicon Valley billionaire decried that he and his friends dreamed of flying cars, and instead got 140 characters. He was wrong: They, along with entrepreneurs and governments around the world, got much more — a space race on steroids.

The big picture: From Dubai to the U.S., Tokyo to Moscow, Tel Aviv to Beijing and more, billionaires, privateers and political leaders are vying to land on the Moon, colonize Mars, mine asteroids — and just get off the Earth. "Whatever we have evolved into hundreds and thousands of years from now, we'll look at these decades as when the human race moved off the planet," said Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X-Prize Foundation.

Billionaires and their rockets

Illustrated collage of satellites and money
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The billionaires pouring money into rockets don't appear, at least so far, to be focused entirely on money. Instead, they are turning childhood love of sci-fi into a private space exploration companies. Elon Musk has SpaceX, Richard Branson has Virgin Galactic and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has Stratolaunch.

The big picture: Jeff Bezos is much richer than all of them put together, which means he's been able to worry less than any about profits, shareholders or commercial contracts.

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