The new race to the Moon – What does it say about us?

Could China’s Moon shot signal an Asian reprise of the US/USSR Cold War race to the Moon? More significantly, can we develop missions to explore other bodies in the Solar System without an underlying military motive?

That is the upshot of an article included in a daily briefing I get from Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

I don’t need to add any commentary to the following from that daily e-mail. I simply hope it will spark discussion of those opening questions. Please chime in!

What’s Behind Asia’s Moon Race?

from the Christian Science Monitor

Beijing – As the rocket carrying China’s first lunar probe blasted off Wednesday evening, it left in its wake a vapor trail of questions about the nature of Asia’s new space race.

The continent’s giants are jockeying for position beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Japan launched its own moon orbiter last month. India plans to send a similar satellite up next year. The dawn of the Asian space age, however, has been darkened by suspicion, instead of cooperation.

… The moon shots, all designed to learn more about the lunar atmosphere and surface, have no military purpose, officials in the three new space powers are quick to point out. But in a field where civilian technological advances can easily be put to military use, nations closely scrutinize each of their neighbors’ steps forward.

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