Elaine Meinel Supkis
Despite sending yet another teacher into space, the US has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to the latest space race. I am not surprized. We want to live it up here at home, not spend energy and time jostling with Japan, China and Russia in conquering space. Unbeknownst to us, there is actually a hot space race and what is at stake is the moon, the satellite we conquered and then abandoned during the Vietnam War. Now we concentrate on building our castle of sand in the form of debts to the nations that are now racing to secure the moon's resources. This is beyond stupid. We want to steal oil here on earth from angry Muslims while there is no bin Laden on the moon, is there?
With Asia's biggest powers set to launch their first unmanned lunar missions — possibly as early as next month — the countdown has begun in the hottest space race since the United States beat the Soviet Union to the moon nearly four decades ago.
Japan's space agency said last week that its SELENE lunar satellite is on track for a Sept. 13 launch, following years of delay as engineers struggled to fix mechanical problems. China, meanwhile, is rumored to be planning a September blastoff for its Chang'e 1 probe, but is coy as to the date.
The Chinese satellite and its Changzheng 3 rocket have passed all tests, and construction of the launch pad is finished, according to the National Space Administration's Web site. Last month, China's minister of defense technology told CCTV that all was ready for a launch "by the end of the year."
Secure in the knowledge the US can't contest anyone, stuck at a low LaGrange orbit with the ricketty space shuttle, all our trade rivals plan for the far future as we refuse to look even at the near future. Both China and Japan can spend up to a trillion dollars, conquering the moon. We have to beg for handouts to go to a low L-3 orbit. This annoys me no end. The entire reason for building space stations was to hone the skills to built L-5 orbiting way-stations that could transmit humans and materials back and forth between the earth and the moon and thus, head out to other planetary and even interstellar (I admit intergalactic was pushing things a bit) exploration and colonization. So long as we cling to our beloved Earth, we are doomed for the old sun is part of a former star cluster born not too long after the Big Bang and the sun's steady-state date is already past due.
We must move outwards if we want to spread the love. On the other hand, maybe confining us here is a better option as far as the universe is concerned! But being an optimist, I hope to reach outwards and colonize other planets especially since there are billions of planets out there just waiting to be visited and...we are nasty, aren't we. Long ago, I said at one of the first World Cons, 'We are the space aliens who are invading all those people living in Barstow, California.' Incidentally, where most of the mid-1950's SF movies were shot and a stomping ground of my own misspent youth.
I used to ask my dad, why space aliens didn't kidnap me. He would say, 'The KGB won't even kidnap you. Forget aliens.' I even asked a KGB agent this in 1968 and all he did was laugh. Hahaha. Tovarichii! Bah.
When I was a child, I wanted to travel to other star systems and play the alien from outerspace. I hoped to find a planet of cats like Felix the Cat. In the fifties, he lived in an observatory with the annoying clone of myself, Pointdexter. And Master Cylinder would try to destroy him. I once dated the Master in the Tom Baker series of Dr. Who TV shows on the BBC. He was way cool. And very gay. Another broken heart here.
But to continue: The space race is here! And we are going to Mars as soon as the Chinese give us enough loans and since this isn't happening, Bush is, as he told Howard in Australia, 'Kicking ass in Iraq' which is why a bunch of American soldiers were blown up there today. The asses being kicked to hell and beyond aren't Bush's. He would make a great bad guy who chickens out and sells the heroine off to the alien overlords so he could have some small reward. It still annoys me that the Master of Dr. Who was gay. And had to discover this while hanging out with me. I suppose it is all my fault. I told my dad, 'All alien invaders will meet me and change their sex and I will remain unsatified and annoyed.' As it is, sex and space have a funny relationship as that strange story of the astronaut chasing after a rival over a man who wasn't gay though I wonder if he changed his mind and wants to marry Senator Craig!
All together now: Pegasus doesn't care who humps whom. So long as there is an orgy and apples, he is happy. He, personally, prefers mares. Nightmares, to be exact. They are a great delight for him and an annoyance to myself. I dislike them a lot.
The race to the moon is serious. I joke but this is a serious matter. The universe is filled with things we can colonize. Or steal. And little of it is guarded. For example, the American space race showed clearly, no one is attending to the moon so we can take whatever we find there. More than just a handful of space rocks! We have no idea what is on Venus that we can mine but if it has half of the mineral wealth and diamonds and gold as the earth itself, well, 'Eureka!' Venus is similar to hell but no matter. We mine under hellish conditions here on earth. The Chinese will mine Venus.
Russia will hold firm in its opposition to deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe and in its insistence that Kosovo's status be resolved to Serbia's satisfaction, the foreign minister said Monday.
"Our partners should understand that we don't bargain," the minister, Sergey Lavrov, told students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a top school for training diplomats.
"It should be understood that, for all the nonconfrontational external policy of Russia, there are so-called 'red lines' for us - this is when there is a real threat to our national security or to the existing order of international rights," he said.
I keep saying this: Russia has a long history of being suddenly invaded by allies. People sign treaties and then invade. Aside from Iran, few countries have the right to claim to paranoia than Russia. Over and over again, this happens. To this day, the US talks about sneak attacks on Russia. This is beyond stupid. If we want to contest rule fo the earth with Russia, we better rebuild our space program and stop fighting Iranian cats.
I always assumed the nearset habitable planet with intelligent life will be cats. Irresponsible, self-centered, proud and easily annoyed, they will happily respond to worship, petting and service such as sacrifices and lots of delicate goodies. I practice my interstellar diplomatic skills on my collection of cats. God help us if the alien planet is populated with creatures like my horse, Sparky.
So all explorations should include live lab rats and mice as well as a big bag of Macintosh apples. Just in case. If we meet aliens like dogs, all we need is a bag of bones. And a whistle. And a few balls. Just don't visit them after visiting the cat aliens. Or we will be in the middle of an interstellar war that would dwarf the battles over the Holy Land here.
Russia will send astronauts to Moon by 2025 and establish a permanent station on it in 2028-2032, a senior official said here on Friday.
Russia, which sent the first cosmonaut to the space in 1961, has forged a long-range blueprint for its space industry up to 2040, said Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
"According to our assessments, the manned flight to the Moon will be prepared by 2025, while a permanent station will be created on the Moon's surface in 2028-2032," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
By 2028, Europe will be broke, Russia will be rich, the US will be history and China will be teaching us the fine art of brush painting their strange language. Maybe the Russians will let me explain interstellar diplomacy. Not that they believe in anything but might makes right. Until they meet the inevitable Insterstellar Space Cats looking for Iran Kitty.