New Space Race or New cold War?
By Will Harris
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 at 04:56 PM
Who will rule the 21st century? The new cold war begins as the new super powers and wannabe super powers scramble for the starsIt has been widely said that the 20th century was truly the American century. It was a century of record breaking achievements, it was a century when we let off the brakes, pushed down on the throttle and set the standard from then on.
This is usually the part of the article where I recount a voluminous list of America's Greatest Hits, but you can all google as well as I can, but if you're just too darned lazy check out this link: Some background
and take your pick.
Of course we had our brushes with catastrophe, but far and away the capstone of American achievement, the thing that ends all drinking hall arguments on the subject, the shining Gem in the crown of American superiority has been the moon landing. "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", it still gives me chills.
Space had always been a metaphor for the future in the 20th, and the image of our flag planted in the Grey dust, with a lush planet Earth shining down on it from the sky above branded us the genuine article, it was official, we're innovators.
It seems we only got about 30 years out of the title, because now, there's a challenger to the crown, a fresh young upstart, another genuine article pugilist that had to fight its way up from the streets, China.
Indeed, China is making the world take a second look, She's diversified her portfolio, shed those unwanted pounds, and paid off most her credit cards, once by opening her own mint to print U.S. currency to recoup a U.S. trade debt that we were dragging our feet on, remember when we got the new $20's not too long ago? That's why.
Despite such dastardly economic tactics, and occasional human rights abuses, China has the moon in its cross hairs and plans to plant its own flag there within the decade.
Any news-phile worth their weight has noticed the sudden rebirth of the American Space Program due to the fact that middle aged men with pocket protectors across the country all have the same word on their lips, "China".
Don't be surprised that you didn't know that China's space program is moving at a pace that reminds the U.S. of itself when it was younger, in case you didn't know about the success of Shenzhou 5, and the coming Shenzhou 6 missions, look here: Shenzhou6
and wonder if your children will now have to memorize the word Shenzhou when it appears in school books right next to the word Apollo.
All things considered this seems to be a much needed shot in the arm for NASA, they're just as busy as beavers lately as: The Moon Mission
and again with the Moon and Still Again with the Moon
will show you. But here's the deal folks, this is the thing that chaps my ass, as the U.S. is spurred on by a rapidly gaining China, we're going to the moon...again?!
This is a no win situation people, on one hand if we race China to the moon, we're going to look like old fogeys who are trying to prove we still got it, and on the other hand, well, the other hand is the same as the first hand. If we get drawn into a space race to the moon not only do we look stupid, but we abdicate our most deserved role, and break with our history as innovators. That's right people, Mars is where it's at. Say it with me now, "Manned Mission to Mars, Now"! Don't forget to call your Senator. While you're on hold be sure to think of ways you think of ways to tell them "put a move on it" because China is already planning the same mission to Mars for roughly the same time as our return trip to the moon. I'm afraid it's a race, we didn't start it, we're just leading it, wanna keep the lead?