With George Bush’s announcement today of renewed American efforts to get to space, including new lunar missions, completing the ISS, and more permanent moon-bases, the second space race appears to have officially begun.
China, who recently launched their first manned space flight, wants taikonauts (a chinese spaceman) on the moon within 20 years. The US is determined to do it now ‘within 10–15 years’, noticeably on slightly a shorter timeline. The moon, of course, seems to make sense as an excellent base from which to launch mission further afield, as there’s no atmospher to be forced to escape.
Most of me wants to revel in the naïve boyish enthusiasm for space exploration & adventure that this conjures up. The adult in me notices however the distinctly unilateral tone of this announcement, the ominous-sounding “harness the moon’s abundant resources” and so on and so forth.
One of my greatest dreams is that within my lifetime, it will be possible to have space tourism. Kickstarting US space exploration seems like a right step in that direction. There’s always a trickle-down effect from this sort of scientific endeavour.