NASA is serious about sending astronauts back to the moon’s neighborhood and will likely unveil its ambitious plans soon now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected, experts say.
The space agency has apparently been thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon’s far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025.
The new plans have probably already been cleared with the Obama Administration but have been kept under wraps in case Republican candidate Mitt Romney won Tuesday night’s (Nov. 6) presidential election, said space policy expert John Logsdon, a professor emeritus at George Washington University.
In 2010, President Obama directed NASA to work toward sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, then on to the vicinity of Mars by the mid-2030s.
To reach such deep-space destinations, the agency is developing a huge rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) and a crew capsule named Orion.
But astronauts likely won’t head straight to a space rock when SLS and Orion are ready to fly together in 2021. In the last year, word has begun leaking out that NASA wants to explore Earth-moon L2, a point in space that lies beyond the moon’s far side, as a precursor. Read full article here
Not only NASA is serious about sending astronauts back to the moon, also China pushes to become a global space power, experts say its ambitions go well beyond a symbolic moon landing.
In 2003, it became the third country in the world to send humans into space after Russia and America, and it is now looking into sending astronauts to the moon by 2025.
But Beijing is not content with playing catch-up on manned flights, and is also looking to reap economic and scientific benefits from space.
By 2016, China will “increase the use of satellites to contribute to the development of strategic industries and satisfy the needs of the economy” in telecommunications, Earth observation or global positioning systems.
China last year launched its version of the US Global Positioning System (GPS), the Beidou satellite navigation system. Further satellites will enable the new system to cover Asia this year, and the whole world by 2020.
China has long maintained the rapid development of its space capabilities is peaceful in nature, saying Beijing “opposes weaponisation or any arms race in outer space.”
But concerns remain over China’s intentions. In 2009, air force commander General Xu Qiliang caused a stir when he said armed forces should prepare for the “inevitable” militarisation of outer space – a claim hastily disavowed by President Hu Jintao. Read full article here
Besides NASA and China, also Russia will send a team of cosmonauts to the moon, 60 years after Neil Amstrong’s Apollo mission, and their return to Earth by 2030, according to space agency, Roskosmos.
Moscow has periodically announced ambitious plans for space exploration in recent years, but this is the first time a firm deadline has been set for a manned lunar mission. Read full article here
And finally: India’s space agency declared in 2010 that it wanted to launch a human mission to the Moon by 2020.
A new Space Race for supremacy in space exploration is looming?
MESSAGE FROM VRILLION OF THE ASHTAR COMMAND A PART OF THE GALACTIC FEDERATION OF LIGHT:
DO NOT LOOK TO OTHER NEW PLANETS TO SURVIVE ON WHEN YOU MAKE NO EFFORT FOR THE PLANET YOU CALL HOME