What a fascinating question! As I see it, there are several differnet organizations that might hope to send humans to the moon in the next few decades: 1. China is very interested in eventually visiting the moon, using a mission architecture similar to Apollo. 2. Some private US company, like SpaceX or Blue Origin, could concievably put together a moon mission with 100% non-government money. 3. The US government, via NASA and perhaps also "commercial crew"-style contracts with private space companies. One complication is that, if NASA decided to reall...
This 30% average is crazy low. We're going to Venus, people. As mfb points out, the japanese Akatasuki probe currently comes as close as 400 kilometers to the surface of Venus. It could easily win this question by itself if it is sent into the Venusian atmosphere at the end of its mission (just like Cassini, Galileo, and many other space probes -- although Akatsuki is very low on fuel and might choose to use its limited supply fuel to extend its mission rather than prematurely end it). One could even argue that 400 km is close enough to count, and th...
Spacex will likely try to fit as many as 25 Starlink satellites on each Falcon 9 launch (there are 25 satellites planned per orbital plane in the constellation). So the question "will there be ten satellites by 2021" could perhaps be better phrased as "will SpaceX perform at least the first demo launch of a Falcon 9 stuffed with a bunch of Starlink satellites in 2019/2020?" I think this is quite likely. (The question is confusing on whether these satellites have to be the final design revision -- they will not be -- or whether the starlink service wil...
As a huge SpaceX fan and card-carrying techno-optimist-futurist on other Metaculus space questions like "When will a human set foot on the Moon?" and "Will a probe touch Venus's atmosphere by 2030", I nevertheless agree with jzima and EvanHarper that these numbers are crazy high. I think SpaceX aficionados are confusing: 1."first grasshopper-style test hops of BFS engine" (happening 2019/2020 in Elon Time, who knows when in real time) with the similar-ish but importantly different statement: 2."completed BFR + BFS system is launching regularly to Ear...
@(moons R us) I don't know anything about the particular engines (or other hardware) involved in the Chinese sample-return effort. But I certainly wouldn't be surprised if that's what they were doing, as it seems undeniable to me that the Chang'e 5 sample return mission is in general being designed to serve as a kind of scaled-down "dress rehearsal" for a future manned mission. The Soviet sample-return missions Luna 16 through 24 all used a "direct ascent" profile: the entire spacecraft landed on the moon, then the sample return container blasted off ...
This question suffers from a fairly serious problem -- what counts as a VR or AR headset? -Presumably devices like the Oculus Go count as VR headsets. What about phone-holders like Google Daydream or Samsung VR? What about extremely low-cost phone-holders like Google Cardboard? Are these still "VR headset sales" on par with purchases of the Vive and Rift? -What counts as the dividing line between VR and AR? Is any device with transparent screens (hololens, magic leap, etc) automatically AR, even if it is extremely bulky, has a short battery life, o...

@Tidearis Wait, what counts as "the outer solar system"? Do only the gas giants and Kuiper belt count, or also the asteroid belt? Does Mars count? Do Earth-crossing asteroids count?

@(traviswfisher) wrote: > Over the last decade silicon carbide semiconductor technology has started to produce functioning digital logic devices that could operate at Venus surface temperature. I think it will take maybe another decade though before that tech is mature enough to consider building a probe around it. But this question isn't just about the probability of a fully-fledged, NASA-made, long-duration high-temperature Venus lander (on which I agree with you, there is maybe somewhere around a 10% chance of that happening). The question also cov...
@(moons R us) wrote: > Most of the mission plans being discussed for exploring outer solar system planets involve orbiters, not flybys. I agree with this. A Cassini-style dedicated Uranus orbiter was considered a middle-level priority in the last decadal planetary science survey -- basically, "if you have extra money left over after mars sample return, build a Uranus orbiter". And of course New Horizons has generated many new questions about the Pluto-Charon system, so people are dreaming up ideas for orbiters and even landers. Two possible mission...