Words by Nneka Samuel

From Halle Berry’s new U.S. television show Extant to The Jetsons to Star Trek, film and television have long exploited the infinite possibilities of space exploration. And with the growing influx of companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic making commercial space travel a feat of the near future, space is no longer relegated to a writer’s imagination. Nor is it a place for astronauts and astronauts alone. The Caribbean Space Summit is taking full advantage of this fact.

The one day event held on October 11th in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will address the transformation undergoing the space industry. 32 guest speakers are confirmed, including the likes of Dr. Robert Kerr, Director of Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, Gary Bickford of Space Finance Group, and Norul Ridzuan Zakaria, founder and president of Spaceport Malaysia, among many others.

Topics of discussion include space tourism, astrobiology and aerospace research, robotics and artificial intelligence, space as an emerging market and the future of Puerto Rico’s commerce and economic development. These are exciting times for the industry, as commercial space exploration means being able to go on suborbital trips, experience zero gravity and see Earth from above.

CSS2014 also bears the proud distinction of being the first summit about commercial space to be held in the Caribbean. The summit’s website points out that Puerto Rico is an ideal location for a space port due to its close proximity to the equator and its being surrounded by ocean. Hopefully this inaugural event will be the first of many to take place in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean nations.

The summit also promises a job fair, poster session and the first ever SpaceUp Caribbean, a volunteer-run “unconference” where participants dictate everything from topics of discussion to scheduling.

The future of space travel is now. Visit the CSS2014 website  for more information.