The private spaceflight industry isn’t just interested in being the manufacturing and infrastructure workhorse in space — some want in on exploration.

First Mode’s Elizabeth Frank contributed to a recent article by Miriam Kramer on how private companies could transform the way scientists understand planets and moons throughout the solar system with small missions that can answer big questions.

“I think the challenge for overall commercial exploration is figuring out who the customers are beyond NASA,” Elizabeth Frank, an applied planetary scientist at First Mode, a company focused on helping companies and governments solve problems in space and on Earth, told me.

Private planetary science missions also aren’t beholden to the scientific priorities of the broader community, Frank added, meaning that, unless there’s some type of oversight, they may answer questions that no one is really asking.

Take a look at the complete article for perspectives from other leaders in commercial space including Virgin Orbit and Rocket Lab.

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