The U.S. may abandon its current ambition be the first country to get man to Mars due to economic costs. Space experts say that the Cold War era is long-forgotten and so it should be its ambitions. Since the federal government repeatedly threatens to cut federal costs, Mars landing will remain just a plan if the US refuses international cooperation.
Since the Space Race time, when the US and Soviet Russia were battling to get the first man to the Moon, a lot of things have changed – after the Cold War federal funding was not as generous with space exploration missions. NASA officials said that the US invested in Apollo mission four percent of the federal budget, while in present days that sum shrank to a mere 0.4 percent. That is still a large sum but insufficient for NASA’s plans.
For instance, the next Orion mission will cost more than $7 billion just to get the shuttle off the ground. Orion spacecraft’s second mission is scheduled to start in 2017 or 2018. Orion is expected to be the first spacecraft to get first humans on Mars. But since it is so expensive, international cooperation has already started – the Space Launch System, a very expensive new rocket designed to propel Orion beyond the Moon, will be built and paid by the European Space Agency (ESA).
Also, the International Space Station (ISS) was co-founded by the US, ESA, Japan and Canada. In the future the US hopes to also get India’s help in its future space exploration missions.
Several countries have also deep space dreams including Mars exploration. Europa had an outstanding success with the Rosetta mission and its Philae spacecraft – the first comet touchdown in human history. India also now heavily invests into getting the first Indian crew in space, while Japan recently launched a probe to collect asteroid material and get it back to Earth.
It seems that the Apollo mission’s effect on the US ability for space innovation now repeats itself in international space programs under different circumstances.
“You see countries like India really investing in their space program because they see it as inspirational and good for their economy,”
Ellen Stofan, scientist at NASA, said.
Now, NASA’s vital goal is to get man on Mars in 20 years time, but it will need a lot of international financial support to succeed. Since Cold War is gone,
“when we go to explore, we do it as a globe,” as Mrs. Stofan sees it.
Another space exploration joint project is the Global Exploration Roadmap designed by the US, France, Canada and Japan to help future ISS space missions explore the Moon and nearby asteroids.
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