Go try to start a business where you build a rocket and launch it into space, and tell me what the main barriers to your success are. I guarantee they aren't technological, they are bureaucratic in nature.
private industry doesn't explore space, or high speed travel in general for that matter, because the government has regulated innovation in that area out of profitable feasibility. We have the technology and desire to do these things, but the government is standing guard at the gates to these advancements.
I mean seriously, it's 2012 and I can't text and drive. I have basically a supercomputer that connects to a global information network and will wirelessly communicate with video and audio all over the earth and it fits in my pocket, but my car can't fly, not only that, if I let loose of my steering wheel to sleep or send a text while I'm driving my car will actually just smash itself into a bridge embankment. It's not even intelligent enough to not crash and destroy itself. My car is still using basically the same technology it was in 1950 with a few comforts and computer periphials added as accessories.
If I want to work in a large city, I pretty much have to live in it as well, because if I wanted to live in a small town it might take me 2 hours to get to work at 70 miles an hour. The military has a missle that can reach any target on earth in an hour from Hawaii, but I can only drive 70 miles per hour, on pavement, and i can't sleep or operate a computer while I'm doing it. Why? Becasue the government regulates aircraft and motorvehicles, it is not a technology problem, it is not a market demand problem, we have the technology and demand to accomplish all of these things. The only thing standing in the way is the violence of the state.
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