Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Race for the Moon

AP covers NASA's debut of its plan to establish a permanent manned presence on the moon. Astronauts will return to the moon on 2020 and a permanent presence will commence in 2024. The US program is sometimes referred to as 'Apollo on Steroids,' and a quick look at the artists' conceptions will show why.

While timetables slip and there is skepticism about whether this vision will actually take form, it's worthwhile to remember that we're not the only ones planning a moonbase.

Japan's JAXA for example, is planning a moonbase by 2030. (By the way, JAXA is on the web here in English, but it does not have a lot of info on the planned moon base).

And in a growing sign of what nations are the world's technology leaders in the near future, China and India are also planning to go.

One imagines that the nations which actually start to take concrete steps toward establishing a permanent manned presence will end up throwing in together. After all, the costs are too great for any one nation to foot the bill without looking for ways to do it cheaper.

And I would be remiss if I did not point out that apart from state-sponsored ventures, there are capitalists thinking about going to the moon as well.

And how long will it take before we realize that the moon is the perfect place to store nuclear waste? (As you listen to that youtube clip, am I the only one who thinks it sounds like 'Jesus Christ Superstar?')

Update: Victor Matus argues against going back to the moon for a different reason. Of course, Mr. Matus is a sucker for believing that humans have walked on the moon at all.

Back to the top.

No comments: