PODCAST: Investing in Space, with Andrew Chanin
We talk to a pioneering fund manager about investing opportunities are in space. Also: Inflation is here — how should you adjust your investments?
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There's a ton of enthusiasm for space — visiting it, commercializing it, investing in it. A pioneering fund manager in, well, space joins us today to talk about where there's money to be made. Also, inflation is here, maybe to stay. How should you change up your investing strategy? All coming up in this episode of Your Money's Worth.
David Muhlbaum: Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm Kiplinger senior editor David Muhlbaum, joined by my co-host, senior editor Sandy Block.
David Muhlbaum: How are you doing, Sandy?
Sandy Block: Doing great, David.
David Muhlbaum: Well, good. So another month, another Consumer Price Index report, and here we are again, talking about inflation.
Sandy Block: Well, we do it because we have to, or we do it because we care, or because everybody's talking about it, I'm not sure.
David Muhlbaum: If I have reluctance to talk about inflation it's because, like many big trends, there's not a whole lot you and I can do about it. And like any economic condition, it's ... temporary?
Sandy Block: Well, it's temporary until it isn't, until it goes on for a while, like the '70s.
David Muhlbaum: Well, a while is a pretty squashy term, no? Look, like many people, I keep seeing the headline, "Inflation is here to stay." And I think, "Well, how long is that? It's not forever."
Sandy Block: No, but it could be years and that could make a real difference in people's situations, their investments. And particularly, I'm hearing a lot from retirees, if you live on a fixed income, inflation is a real, real problem.
David Muhlbaum: Yes, investments, you said that. We're getting to the point where inflation concerns are driving people to reevaluate those. And investing is a place where, I guess, you can do something about inflation, or at least its impact on you. And, hey, get this, I can do something about telling the listeners what they can do.
Sandy Block: Okay, you're being a bit cryptic here, David.
David Muhlbaum: Sorry. Here's the thing, the next issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance has an article about this very thing, it's called Shield Your Portfolio From Inflation. Now, of course, if you all were subscribers, you'd have that in hand already, but we do eventually share a lot of that magazine content online. But just for you, lucky listeners, I'm going to move that article's online publication up so I can stick it in the show notes.
Sandy Block: All right, then. Well, give the people a little bit more here. Give us something we can use?
David Muhlbaum: Well, okay. It's long and comprehensive and the introduction talks a lot about what's going on, how long inflation might last, the scary stuff. But this right here, this is the counsel from the writer, Adam Shell, "The best inflation strategy is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst." Okay, so let's put that into action: What to buy? One classic investment is Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS. You can buy these directly from the Treasury Department or through exchange traded funds like Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF, the symbol is SCHP. Now, how exactly these work, I'm not going to explain. But basically, they do better when inflation is high. But Adam has plenty of other options for people who don't want to mess with TIPS, or other bonds, or maybe find them a bit dull. And you could change your stock allocations, for example. Some sectors are going to do better in inflationary times, usually energy, industrials, building products, aerospace firms.
Sandy Block: And David, you mentioned TIPS as a classic inflation hedge, but another classic inflation hedge that people often talk about at times like this is gold, gold in them thar hills, the Treasure of Sierra Madre gold.
David Muhlbaum: Well, yes, gold. I mean, gold has always had its fans. And in inflation, you're right, it's always been a big argument for gold. But the track record though, isn't so clear, at least per Adam. Gold tends to perform best during bouts of extreme inflation, such as in the 1970s, which we mentioned earlier, when oil prices skyrocketed, but it doesn't do quite as well during more muted inflationary periods, which is what we're expecting.
Sandy Block: Right. And gold seems more like a lifestyle choice, like if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind putting some bars under your bed, or something like that. You're either a gold buyer or you're not.
David Muhlbaum: I'd agree. And the people who already have it, they might buy more. But get this, how about Bitcoin for an inflation hedge instead?
Sandy Block: Oh, come on.
David Muhlbaum: Well, when you're talking cryptocurrency, you have to include the warnings, and Adam does. So I won't repeat them all here, but yes, one of the fundamental ideas for Bitcoin is that it's an inflation hedge, since there is a firm limit on how much of it can ever be made. It's not a fiat currency, and all that jazz.
Sandy Block: You're right, but what I've been looking at from Bitcoin... And we're working on a story about that now for an upcoming issue... is you need a strong stomach to invest in that area.
David Muhlbaum: Well, yes, we've established that. But you're going to need a strong stomach for this inflationary run too. So hang in there, people. When we return, we'll talk to a top fund manager about investing in space. Stick around.
David Muhlbaum: Welcome back to Your Money's Worth. Joining us for our main segment today is Andrew Chanin, co-founder and CEO of ProcureAM, which oversees the Procure Space ETF, ticker UFO, the first pure-play space themed exchange-traded fund. So in short, we're going to be talking about stocks in space, which is a Muppets reference I've been dying to make ever since Kyle Woodley, our senior investing editor, suggested we do a segment about, well, stocks in space. Kyle, in fact, will be joining us today to pepper Andrew with questions.
David Muhlbaum: Thank you both for joining us.
Andrew Chanin: Thank you for having me.
Kyle Woodley: Hello, hello.
David Muhlbaum: Now, Kyle knows ETFs cold and he's a space fan as well. But before I turn over to him, I want to ask a few sort of establishing questions for people who might be less familiar with the field, or frankly, with you, Andrew. So as we said, you're the co-founder and CEO of ProcureAM, which oversees the Procure Space ETF. Does that mean I can call you a fund manager, or are there people working for you who do that part?
Andrew Chanin: Sure. So we do work with an outsourced portfolio manager that does the actual trading, but we are the fund advisor, and issuer. And sponsor. So we cover a whole bunch of roles for our Procure Space ETF.
David Muhlbaum: Got it. And again, I know Kyle's going to want to talk about some of the individual stocks that are in this sector and in Procure Space ETF, but let's just explain how they get there. If I read this right, you guys track the S-Network Space Index, so what's that — and how does that drive what stocks are in UFO, your ETF?
Andrew Chanin: So S-Network had licensed us their space index to utilize for our ETF. So the goal of our portfolio manager is to try to replicate that index, before fees and expenses. And by doing so, you're having fairly similar weightings in the fund representative to the index holdings themselves. And the way that the index was built was, it was actually co-developed with a former director of research at the Space Foundation. And you may know them for the Space Report, which is a report that comes out every year, also with quarterly installments that looks at the space economy, the space industries, and the revenues that come from there.
Andrew Chanin: And Micah, the individual that works with S-Network on this index was actually part of the team that actually helped define what the space economy actually is. This was something that hadn't really been quantified until the Space Report and the Space Foundation had gone out and done the research to actually figure out what our space companies, where are the revenues coming from, and actually being able to publish that on a fairly regular basis. And so having someone with an extremely in-depth knowledge and understanding of the space industry was extremely important for us. He also has a background in astrophysics as well as space policy, so a really incredible background and understanding that you don't get with most people that are just looking at the space industry. And-
David Muhlbaum: Will you give us his last name too? Micah...
Andrew Chanin: Micah Walter-Range.
David Muhlbaum: Okay, Micah Walter-Range.
Andrew Chanin: And so when you build an index, you have to build out the methodology, so kind of what makes it tick? Well, certainly defining space industries, so: ground equipment manufacturing dependent upon satellite systems, rocket and satellite manufacturing and operations, satellite-based telecommunications, radio and television broadcasting, space industry segments such as space-based imagery, and intelligence services, as well as space technology and hardware. And those were the five original categories that comprise the index. However, since time has gone on, the index provider also recognized that there could be some other emerging space industries, which they categorize as space tourism, like transportation, hospitality. Space-based military and defense systems, space resource exploration and extraction. Space colonization and infrastructure, as well as some other potential industries that could come down the line.
And actually, since UFO launched over two years ago, at least two of those emerging space industries have already found their ways into the fund, and those are with companies like Virgin Galactic, representing space tourism, and then some of the more diversified aerospace and defense names that you'll also see in the fund from the space-based military and defense side. So, as you can see, this is a living, breathing, constantly evolving index that's looking at current industries as well as what's possibly coming down the road. And it looks for companies with over a hundred million in market cap, and it tries to have at least 80% of the index, at rebalance, focused on companies that are pure-play space companies, meaning that a majority of their revenues come from space.
But also understanding that some of the more diversified aerospace and defense names are also major players in space, but not necessarily wanting companies that aren't purely focused on space to really be driving a ton of the movement of the fund. There's up to 20% of the index that can be in these more diversified aerospace and defense names, meeting the qualifications if they have over 20%, but less than 50% of their revenues coming from space, or over 500 million in annual revenues from space.
David Muhlbaum: Got it. I know this is a little weird coming in the wake of your having explained very precisely what's in the fund, but I want to ask about something that's not in the fund. A couple of the big space names that get a lot of press, they aren't in there, SpaceX, Blue Origin. And that's because, well, they're private. They're not publicly traded. And I'm wondering if that's going to continue to be the case in the space sector, a lot of firms looking to stay private? And what that would mean for you, running an ETF, and what it would mean for people who want to invest in space?
Andrew Chanin: So, the two companies that you had mentioned are, they're very large players in the space industry and they're actually affecting companies that are in our fund. And how they're doing that is by... Certainly on SpaceX's front... they're helping to lower the cost of sending things into outer space. So you look at a company like Maxar, and that's in the fund, and they're helping to develop satellites. Well, if it's cheaper to send satellites into outer space, maybe there's more potential customers that can then utilize those satellites. Not only that, but because they're using reusable rockets, it also can help speed up the time in between launches. Whereas, typically, you have to rebuild an entire rocket when you want to send something into outer space, that's no longer the case.
Andrew Chanin: And then you look at how that's also freeing up budgets. So NASA, now able to use SpaceX to send astronauts to the space station or elsewhere, is saving a considerable amount of money. Because before we actually started using SpaceX to send NASA astronauts to the ISS, we were utilizing the Russians and it was costing north of $80 million per astronaut, per seat, to send them into outer space. Whereas, it's closer to $45 million per seat. So if you think about the amount of budget that that can free up for an organization such as NASA, it really is incredible.
Andrew Chanin: So there's a lot of things that these private companies do that are actually helping to benefit the public side of the markets as well. But you just have to realize how those connections fit into place.
Andrew Chanin: That said, Elon Musk has teased that he might sell off his satellite business at some point, and maybe he would spin that off into a publicly traded entity prior to taking SpaceX public. And he's also teased that he wouldn't bring SpaceX public until possibly sending people to Mars. So it is potentially in their flight plan in the future maybe to offer themselves to the public markets. But right now they really haven't needed to because they've been able to access so much capital from their private raises. So, it's really going to come down on a case-by-case basis. When you look at companies that may have major contracts from governments or militaries, for some it might be in their best interest to go public. For others, that might cause them to lose some contracts. So every company is going to need to make the best decision for them. But certainly those that are looking to access capital, may want to look at the public markets for those needs.
Kyle Woodley: So piggybacking on what you said about cutting costs, it feels like getting cost down is one of the biggest barriers to, say, success/differentiators in the space industry. So recycling rockets, finding fuel advantages, is there any particular recent innovation on this front where you look at it and you're like, "This thing right here, this is what really gets the next leg of the space industry going."
Andrew Chanin: Yeah. So we're seeing it, we're literally living in it right now. Over a year ago, one of the heads of NASA had basically kind of coined the term that space is open for business. And what they meant is that NASA doesn't need to go out and say, "We want to do this, so we're going to just start building it." They've shown tremendous success contracting out various things to third parties to help them accomplish their goal. And that entire mindset change is something that is really opening opportunities for companies, entrepreneurs, individuals, technologies that can actually help them achieve those goals. So we're seeing this former hesitancy of working with companies to help achieve these goals has vanished. And now, with rocket costs being lower, with sending things in outer space... You look at satellites and they're getting smaller as well, and they can do more than just one function, like their early predecessors.
But really, it's not a technology that I see driving space forward immediately. It is that space has become an absolute necessity. Before, the U.S. used to be able to claim that we were the dominant country in outer space, and that dominance lead is diminishing by the day. And we're seeing what the Chinese are doing, and the Russians, and even the ESA over in Europe, and their ability to figure out what they want to do and achieve those goals is becoming apparent. China wants to build a permanent research base on the moon by 2028, and Russia has signed on board with it. So what we're seeing is, I think, the space race is not the technology, it's the need to own or dominate space, that is really this upcoming driving factor that I see on the immediate horizon.
Kyle Woodley: And that governmental spending part of it seems to be a major part of the equation that you have to factor in. I mean, space investing clearly has some overlap with the defense industry. And I mean that literally of course in that you have a bunch of defense contractors that are involved with satellites and rockets-based communication components, and so on. But I also mean, it seems that while some aspects of space investing are going to be heavily private sectors, such as tourism, the fate of other aspects is at least somewhat determined by government spending here — and certainly abroad — on national space programs. So how much is this a factor when investors are thinking about the space? And in addition to what you've mentioned with China and Russia, what do international space program spending trends look like nowadays?
Yes, so space has become a must-spend for many countries. Many countries now have the ability to send satellites into outer space to own or operate their own satellite networks. But for many private companies for years, the difference between success and failure for them was their ability to get government contracts. So, like you said, in the early days of the space program, the '50s, '60s, space spending was almost 100% from government. Now, the commercialization of space has increased dramatically where although space and governments and military contracts are extremely important, they only represent about 20% of the overall space economy. So, business has really stepped up and helped fill that void.
So governments giving you a contract isn't necessarily the only lifeblood, but it truly depends on the type of company that you're creating. If you're trying to create secure communications or military surveillance types of satellites, well, there might not be a ton of other use cases outside of the military, at least in that company's early stages until it learns how to utilize that technology and pivot and find other customers.
But space is now something that so many companies are trying to expand into and space is something that touches almost every single publicly traded company around the world today, whether it's communications, whether it's how it surveys, or does GPS tracking of its own assets. Almost everyone that uses a computer that's connected to the internet is relying upon space from some use case. So space has become something that... Like technology in the early days was something that... You're a technology company, well, now every company is essentially a technology company in some aspect. There's many that believe that space is also going to become one of those next jumps as well. And every company is going to need to figure out what the best way for them to raise capital is, and some have chosen the public markets, SPACs and other types of vehicles, in order to access that capital.
David Muhlbaum: You said the word space tourism a couple of times, and I believe you said the term, space hospitality. Is that right? Because those are two words I had not expected to hear in close proximity. But it does bring me to something I know that Kyle wants to talk about, which is the idea of everyday citizens, maybe Kyle, engaging in space tourism, like going there, so-
Kyle Woodley: Nope. So let's get something straight right now, like I'm not getting into a rocket and going into outer space. My wife would be game, my mom would be game, but I love gravity. It's for me. But I am interested in what space tourism's runway looks like as a business. Virgin Galactic is selling tickets for, I think it's like a quarter million a pop. So you're going to see oodles of demand from the world's elite right off the bat. But what happens next? What's the next line of progression here and what does it take to get to the next steps where if I wanted to like, I could go into space?
David Muhlbaum: So wait, you want a five-figure ticket? A four-figure ticket?.
Kyle Woodley: I mean, for me, it would take a three-figure ticket, because I don't want to go up there! But I mean, it's something where I could see, think about how much say a family of four spends to go to Disney world, if you're actually going with the all-inclusive package. So something around those lines where you're getting it to say, I don't know, upper middle-class. But there's still a big difference there between, again, $250,000 for a ticket to $50,000 a ticket. I'm curious what does that bridge look like?
Andrew Chanin: Yeah. So I think one of the great things that could help drive down those prices is that we're seeing competition. This competition is extremely healthy because one of the biggest risks is not being successful in sending someone into outer space, from my perspective. Maybe not necessarily for each company or individual, but for me, if you want to build a business off of sending people to outer space, safety comes first. It's not, who's first to market. First you look at safety and if everyone can do that equally, then you look at, "Okay, well, let's look at the experience. What am I actually getting for my money?" The first ticket to be sold for Blue Origin's flight with the Bezos brothers went for roughly $28 million. So between $250,000 and $28 million, certainly there's some great, probably, media PR that you might be able to get by saying I was the first and I got to spend some time with Jeff and his brother on this lovely vacation, but-
David Muhlbaum: For 30 minutes.
Andrew Chanin: Exactly. But it is a short trip. Certainly they try to make you a couple of days out of the experience where you do your astronaut training, and experiencing, and trying to figure out what you will experience once you're up there, so you can utilize that time and you'll maximize that enjoyment. But really when you're talking about significant amounts of money, what's the differentiation between these two? Is one a better trip? Do I get better pictures? Is there better internet connectivity? What's the differentiator? But certainly they're going to be competing on price. And as they do that, and they build out more technology... I mean Virgin Galactic is already working on your next--gen crafts and whatnot to help build out their business models.
So these are things where I think this extreme competition to drive down costs is what will potentially help to open up the playing field for other people that want to experience this? Will we ever see a $1,000 flight become the regular ticket to go to outer space? It will take a lot of time. It's taken a ton of time to get the cost of launching things in outer space down, why would it be any different sending people on this trip? But certainly, as more competitors come to market, if someone can create a better technology that's safer, faster, and is a better experience, and they're able to do it for cheaper, there's room for those companies. But it is going to be very competitive because what's the next slightly better trip? And is that going to be worth paying up a little bit more? It re.
Kyle Woodley: I love that you mentioned the internet connectivity thing because you're right, like whoever's going up to space, whoever's ponying up that level of money to go up into space, they're not doing it to keep it to themselves. So, of course, they would think about that. It's the little details, man, that humors me.
David Muhlbaum: If you can't livestream space, why even go?
Andrew Chanin: Did it even happen, right?
David Muhlbaum: Since you mentioned risk, I want to touch on that a little. We can all imagine what the risks are for human space flight, whether it's as a tourist or not, but can you talk a little bit more broadly about risk in your sector for investors? What are the biggest risks in space investing, maybe over that same 10-year horizon?
Andrew Chanin: Yeah. So there's a lot of things that are going on with space and figuring out who makes the laws for space, is still pretty much up in the air. A lot of things are theoretical. But certainly, one that doesn't get enough mention is space debris. Right now there's less than 3,000 currently functional orbiting satellites. When we look at what some of the next big satellite companies are trying to do, they're talking about sending up tens of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit. Although it seems pretty darn big, there's only so much space. So there's this new land grab for orbit, for satellites. And so the more things you put there, the more chance you have for collision, and collision creates more debris, and more debris makes it less safe to send other things into outer space.
So there is really a risk of space debris being something that could limit our ability to utilize low Earth orbit. So that's one thing. But at the same time, that could lead to a new industry, trying to help figure out how we remove the debris, or how we repurpose the debris, or how we track the debris. And these are all things that could become opportunities as well.
The other is, we kind of touched on it, it had historically been very difficult for companies to win government contracts. And a lot of these contracts went to the larger players. And now it seems that there's more of an opening up for more companies to get access to these various contracts from the government, military, space agencies, and whatnot. So it is still a risk that they're not necessarily able to see their technologies make it to functionality before they run out of capital. But with the UFO ETF, diversification is one of those things that we hope is able to give people a little less company risk because you're spreading it out across many companies instead of trying to pick individual ones.
Then another one is, what happens if space becomes more militarized? What happens when China builds a permanent military base on the moon, which they have aspirations of possibly doing by 2030? Who sets the rules for the moon when there's actually individuals inhabiting the moon? Who gets to harness those resources? Who else gets to play in this massive sandbox that could have major geopolitical implications surrounding it? So these are all things that we don't know yet because we haven't experienced it yet. And so that certainly is a risk as well, the unknown. But we're also, to my knowledge, one of the first, if not the first ever, financial product to actually include a UFO UAP risk in our fund risk disclosures. And that actually comes with this upcoming UFO report expected to be released by National Intelligence here in the U.S. teaching us about what we've learned from years of observation of Unexplained Aerial Phenomenon, or UFO's.
David Muhlbaum: That's what UAP was. UFO, everyone knows. UAP is... Say it, please, someone.
Andrew Chanin: Aerial phenomenon.
David Muhlbaum: Okay. Yes. Thank you.
Kyle Woodley: So, I wouldn't say that we don't know anything about, say, the future militarization of space. I mean, one thing that we can say with absolute certainty is that every, say, space general, for instance, is going to have to have a copy of Ender's Game on hand, right?
Andrew Chanin: I just hope they're well-read and they understand that space is something that provides so much opportunity, so much possibility, but it's also something that could be poisoned so easily. And there are obstructions. There's ways to hack satellites, to take them over, to make them useless, and to potentially push them into becoming debris to take out other satellites or constellations. And so I think-
Kyle Woodley: The debris thing was really fascinating to me too, because it was actually only, I think, like a week or so ago that I was reading about... It was a British company, I think Astroscale, that's actually working on debris removal. Are there many other companies, any U.S. ones you can think of that are actively actually going out there right now and learning how to basically push debris around, and whatever, get it out of orbit?
Andrew Chanin: We're really in the R&D phase. There are all different approaches. You've got some brilliant minds working on this problem because although it's not a major problem right now, you just see the increased amounts of launches going up, the amount of crafts that we're sending into outer space, and how that could potentially become a very major issue. Right now, we have amazing technologies that track a lot of large debris, even your potential asteroids that could be coming towards Earth. And so we've allocated some resources, but not nearly enough. You have some companies that are trying to deflect debris so that they could have it burned back up in the atmosphere. You also have other ones that are saying it's really expensive to send something into outer space, why do we want to just destroy it if we can capture that, utilize it, and repurpose it to be used in outer space, well, then we don't have to send all this other stuff back up into outer space, which can cost a fortune?
So there's a lot of different approaches. Recycling in space is something absolutely critical. You don't want to just go to the moon and start littering it with trash. You try to use everything in outer space, whether that's even your own urine, so that you can drink water. And so you see-
David Muhlbaum: Or, for example, with an old satellite, there could be a solar panel up there. It's not as good as a solar panel you could launch now, but it's there. That's the idea?
Andrew Chanin: Exactly, exactly. And what's in that solar panel? Well, there's silver and other very useful materials. So even if you're not using that exact thing, but you're melting it down to its core components and utilizing those. Those are all things that could save a ton of time and money because it also takes time to send things into outer space.
Kyle Woodley: So we were talking about space tourism before, for our listeners, space colonization, which I would consider sort of a next step on from that, is listed on the UFO ETF's fact sheet as an emerging space industry where we could see more companies pop up eventually. Are you seeing any kind of green shoots in this area right now?
Andrew Chanin: So this is an area that I'm very excited for, because I think this is kind of how we push humankind beyond just Earth. And so it's utilizing technologies like 3D printing, your drone technology, autonomous vehicles. And what I envision, and it might not be right, but you think about space, space is dangerous. It's very inhospitable. So what do you need to do in order to support human life? You need to have things like food and water, shelter and air. Now, many of those resources aren't necessarily extremely readily available on the moon and Mars.And certainly, we'll try to extract moon ice and whatnot and turn that into water, but your agriculture and shelter and other things, how do we build out this permanent infrastructure that we can utilize? Well, if you can send 3D printers to space accompanied with robotics and autonomous vehicles, you could essentially build an entire habitat that's livable for humans before they even get there. All they need to do is show up, turn on the lights, or the robot can turn on the lights themselves, and it's ready to go. You could even, in theory, have plants growing and so that people have agriculture already in the process of growing when they get there.
So I think our ability to harness technology and utilize it to build out kind of our roadmaps, and floor plans, and all of our infrastructure that we need, can help launch humankind just significantly further and faster. So I'm very encouraged by that. I think it's also a much safer way to allow humans to explore the universe by building up something prior to their arrival. So I think that those are areas that companies are already starting to work on today. There might not be as much of a commercial demand immediately for those. But as we look to see what Elon Musk is trying to do, building out colonies on Mars, certainly these are various technologies that they could utilize that can help do it in a much safer manner.
Kyle Woodley: No, I was going to say, without getting too sucked into the realm of science fiction, I'm not going to ask you to project out, say, 50 years where there are publicly traded phaser companies, but what new opportunities do you see arising in space investing over, say, the next decade or so, that right now you really simply cannot touch?
Andrew Chanin: Yeah. So right now you look at the space economy, and as of the 2019 numbers from the Space Foundation, there's roughly a $424 billion industry. You look at companies like Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley projects that by 2040 space will be north of a trillion dollar industry. Bank of America says that by 2045, they believe the space economy will be about a $2.7 trillion industry. You look at that right now and roughly 30% of the space industry is communications. And if you look at how these investment banks and research houses project that we'll get to those north-of-a-trillion dollar estimates, a significant driver is broadband internet, and communications, and 5G, and things like that, connectivity for us here on Earth. And so, people believe that those will be, call it the next 20 or so years, those will be major drivers for space.
Andrew Chanin: But if you want to think a bit further out, the next decade or further, we talked about how expensive it is to send things to outer space, like some of these vital resources, one of the fun areas that we haven't really touched on and I still think we're a ways away, is your extraction of resources. So if you can go to the moon and you can take lunar ice and you can convert that into water, that could be used to drink, to irrigate crops, to do other things. I think that's extremely exciting. Now, extraction on planets, certainly something that I think we would almost need to do in order to survive on the Moon or Mars.
But extraction from asteroids or other types of matter in outer space, these we already know are extremely dense and chock-full of valuable materials, whether it's precious-
David Muhlbaum: Rare earths?
Andrew Chanin: Exactly, precious metals, rare earths, and beyond. So you look at how certain... You have kind of science fiction people look at how we evolve into a much broader space faring species. The ability to not have to send things up from Earth's gravity, if you want them, if we could go to an asteroid, start mining that and send that to the moon, or Mars, or elsewhere, these are all things that can potentially significantly reduce costs. And like we said, there are many asteroids that are extremely rich with these valuable metals. Certainly just the value of the metals themselves is something to be excited about, but the use cases for these as well is something that could be essential for supporting human life as we explore further into the cosmos.
So although many people think of science fiction, we've already started. Japan and the U.S. have already taken samples from asteroids and whatnot and we're sending these back to Earth to do more examination. Just being able to gather these samples and we're doing it on the moon, or on Mars as well, is extremely valuable from a scientific standpoint, to the extent that we actually need to utilize them because we're in outer space and it's a huge cost savings and they're abundant — phenomenal.
David Muhlbaum: It's amazing all the things you can put in space: satellites, test rockets, new space stations, 3D printers, billionaires, maybe not Kyle, but I know there are other people itching to go. So thank you so much for helping us get a grasp on this field, Andrew. And thanks for helping today, Kyle. I really appreciate it.
Andrew Chanin: Thank you.
Kyle Woodley: Great talking to you, Andrew. Thank you so much for stopping by.
Andrew Chanin: I appreciate it. Thanks, everyone.
David Muhlbaum: That will just about do it for this episode of Your Money's Worth. If you liked what you heard, please sign up for more at Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your content. When you do, please give us a rating and review. And if you've already subscribed, thanks. Please go back and add a rating and a review, if you haven't already.
To see the links we've mentioned in our show, along with other great Kiplinger content on the topics we've discussed, go to kiplinger.com/podcast. The episodes' transcripts and links are all in there by date. And if you're still here, because you want to give us a piece of your mind, you can stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening.
Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.
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