Tinkerers and hardware hackers have always been around — but today’s are far more ambitious than those of yesteryear. I have friends with their own space program, but even they pale next to the all-volunteer Danish group that plans to launch its own passenger-capable rocket into space from an ocean platform towed out to sea by their homemade submarine.
Why now? In part, the movement is a collective backlash against our money-obsessed, mass-produced society in which almost no one knows how to build anything anymore. But it’s also because that same society’s technology — e.g. Italy’s wildly successful Arduino open-source hardware platform, cheap new 3-D printers, and lasers cannibalized from PlayStations — has quietly made making things a whole lot easier. Most of all, it’s because today’s relatively wealthy creative classes increasingly care more for accomplishments and esteem than cash.
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