How do you make an ambitious goal, and a quick timeline seems to be worth tackling among a busy slate with alien existential crises? Appeal to the US competitive spirit, apparently.
It is the apparent administration of the current administration, at least as it was revealed by Vice President Mike Pence during a speech to a meeting of the National Space Council held on March 26. There he revealed the administration's new schedule of landing people on the moon again – now pushed up from 2028 to 2024, only five years from now.
And he referred Russian and Chinese activities to space and pronounced these magic space words. "Do not do anything we are in space today today, as we were in the 1
Related: The United States is in a new space race with China and Russia, VP Pence Says
At international level, Pence highlighted two potential opponents. "In December 2002 ]China became the first nation to land on the landing page, and revealed their ambition to exploit the moon's strategic high ground and become the world's predictive space experience nation," said pence. "And for more than seven years without utilizing a sustainable human space launch program, Russia has charged the US more than $ 80 million a seat every time an American astronaut travels to the International Space Station."
But neither country seems to be particularly interested in joining America during this race, space policy experts told space.com. To be fair the first space race was also not very consistently constructed. "We entered a competition to get to the moon in the 60s without knowing what the Soviet Union did, and then we did the fact that they could potentially build a moon rock on the same timetable as we did," John Logsdon , a space historian at The George Washington University, told Space.com. "It turned out that they started two and a half years behind us and never had a great chance."
No one to drive
This time, it seems unlikely that the United States will attract serious competition when it comes to Penn's highlighted competitors do not seem to have any interest in speeding that goal.
"The Russians do not have a public interest in coming to the moon with human spaceflight," Wendy Whitman Cobb, a politician at Cameron University in Oklahoma, told Space.com. "[The Chinese] has taken a targeted slow, methodical approach to spaceflight, and for them I believe that the motivation is more in the military and national prestige areas."
China is certainly interested in the moon, but the current timeline sets human landings sometime after 2030, slower than NASA's timeline before this week's aggressive shift. Right now its human space flight paths are directed elsewhere: to a space station called Tiangong 3, whose first module is due to launch within the next year or so.
"They don't run straight to the moon" Brian Weeden, director of the program for the Secure World Foundation, told Space.com. "I'm sure China is thinking of the moon and coming back there, but I have not seen any concrete plans with timelines and budgets to do so."
Where China feels competitive, instead comes in the military realm, Whitman Cobb said, and here is where the comparison with the space circuit of the Cold War makes sense. "Spaceflight is just a ballistic missile pointed in another direction," she said. "There would probably not have been a space bar if it had not been that we could use it as a peaceful demonstration of military capabilities."
But China is still unable to really compete, Weeden said. "Almost everything they do is things the US has already done before," he said. "China is still catching up."
And although Russia wants to play its part in the space race in the Apollo era, they are in a weak starting position. "I think it is a starter in my opinion," Logsdon said of one of the countries competing with the United States. "The Russian space program is just in the chaotic state they are unable to face a major challenge.
Racer closer to home
Having referred to China and Russia, Pence highlighted the ways he thinks there is a lack of urgency for a new moon landing among Americans in general and especially in NASA, the real factor hobbling is the next "giant leap."
And for Logsdon it was the right takeaway from Pence & # 39; s speech. "Well, are they really hitting it like a race? I didn't hear much of what Pence had to say, "he said." I think it's more it takes too long on our own terms, not that we have to go faster because we drive someone … I think That you have to pay some kind of lip service to Russia and China are also interested in major space activities, but say it's really a challenge for us to do better. "
For some, it might be a tactic to encourage the government to fork over the increasingly aggressive landing timeline on the international scene, more money for the effort, according to Weeden." want people to think there's a race, "he said." It's motivating, it's a burden to think that the only reason we could get to the moon in the first place was this competition with the Soviets. "
Of course, there is another type of race on the horizon – the regular schedule of the presidential election. And here's the new target date for 2024 for this spacecraft striking." That's the last year in the Trump administration, provided he wins another period , "Whitman Cobb said." It's a way to burn your legacy. "
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