Russia and Japan Interested in Moon Exploration
Russia and Japan want to explore the Moon, and in a big way.
At the Global Space Exploration Conference, which started on May 22 — the same day SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon capsule towards the ISS, which is why NASA administrator Charles Bolden was absent from the conference — Russia and Japan laid out their plans for space exploration, both focusing on Earth’s natural satellite.
“We’re not talking about repeating what mankind achieved 40 years ago. We’re talking about establishing permanent bases,” said Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
Japan’s space exploration goals for the near future are similar to those of Russia. “We are looking at the moon as our next target for human exploraiton,” said Yuichi Yamaura, an associate executive director at JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency.
Interestingly enough, though it was the first country to successfully send human astronauts to the Moon, the US is currently not as interested in Moon exploration as Russia and Japan.
NASA’s Global Exploration Roadmap, which details its plans for the next 25 years of space exploration, offers two main courses — establishing a Moon base by 2020 or sending astronauts to an asteroid. President Barack Obama favors the latter option, but that may change after the November elections.
Which option do you prefer? Would you rather see astronauts sent to an asteroid, or a permanent Moon base? Share your opinions in the comments.
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