Space (i.e. Asia’s Playground)…
- India is goin’ to (orbit) Mars with a launch set for November 2013, only a few years after India landed an unmanned probe on the moon and detected water on the lunar surface. (The US is also sending an atmospheric orbiter to Mars this year.) India is not exactly new to space; it has had 101 successful space missions but mainly with satellites. The mission to Mars will cost about as much as buying one Boeing passenger airliner. Yes, India is still poor and beset with numerous problems, but India rarely lets itself be defined only by its poverty. The real issue is whether or not this bold, new mission has been carefully planned. It seems to be mainly about retaining prestige in Asia’s space race… which is kind of a recipe for disaster.
- China will be sending three taikonauts to its temporary space station, Tiangong 1, this summer. China hopes to establish a permanent space station by 2020. The European Space Agency can see the future and they’re mulling over a new alliance with China despite several major political hurdles. Now, if someone could just convince the Chinese to clean up the mess they made with their anti-satellite missile test.
- South Korea and North Korea: Have both recently demonstrated their ability to put satellites in space and to piss each other off.
- Japan: JAXA will be studying the atmospheres of Venus, Jupiter and Mars from Earth’s outer orbit.
- Singapore and Vietnam: Are discovering the advantages of pooling their resources with India and Japan.
- America: Meanwhile, Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that Americans have stopped dreaming. Nonsense! America has just privatized most of its dreams. Because, nothing is as efficient as having two corporations producing the same thing for NASA that could have been produced in-house by NASA itself. Yay for mindless neo-liberal economic thinking!
- Finally, Iran‘s space program is still Monkey Business according to the Diplomat.
Image Source: Daily Rubber Duck