This is what’s happened to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Barack Obama’s presidency:
- Cancellation of NASA’s Constellation program to build new rockets and spaceships capable of returning astronauts to the Moon.
- Since February 2006 NASA’s mission statement is to “pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. In July 2010, however, NASA administrator Charles Bolden declared that his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.
- In 2011, NASA ended its space shuttle program.
- In April 2013, Bolden told a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board in Washington that “NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime.”
But Russia not only will return to the Moon, they plan to colonize it. Will Stewart reports for The Daily Mail that on April 11, 2014, Moscow set out plans to conquer and colonize space, including a permanent manned moon base.
In an article, “Russian Space,” in the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Russia’s Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin wrote of “colonization of the moon and near-moon space,” and that “We are coming to the moon forever. Flights to Mars and asteroids in our view do not contradict exploration of the Moon, but in many senses imply this process.”
Rogozin, who is in charge of Russia’s space and defense industries, said whereas manned flights are unlikely beyond “the space between Venus and Mars” in the next 50 years, ” it is quite possible to speak about exploration of Mars, flights to asteroids and flights to Mars.”
The essential first step as a base for research and experiments is the Moon. Rogozin wrote, “The moon is not an intermediate point in the race. It is a separate, even a self-contained goal. It would hardly be rational to make some ten or 20 flights to the moon, and then wind it all up and fly to the Mars or some asteroids. This process has the beginning, but has no end. We are coming to the moon forever.”
Currently, Russia has plans to launch three lunar spacecraft – two to the surface and one to orbit – by the end of the decade. The first mission, the long-delayed Luna-25, is slated for launch in 2016, to research the moon’s south pole. The next two missions will include an orbiter to monitor the moon in 2018, and a year later a polar lander with a drill will search for water ice. By 2040, Russia plans to create a lunar base for long-term missions to the Earth’s natural satellite.
Rogozin said that the Moon is the only realistic source to obtain water, minerals and other resources for future space missions. A lunar laboratory complex will also be used for testing new space technologies.
Rogozin said U.S. sanctions against Russia, including the termination of space cooperation, “can contribute” to a stronger Russian space industry by forcing Russia “to create a strategy of development of Russian manned space flights, independent from unreliable international partners. We should not be afraid to dream, to raise the bar as high as possible for our future development. Russia has everything needed for a new breakthrough in space research. All we need is to learn how to combine idealism and pragmatism and how to properly organize our business.”
He promised that Russia will develop “a super-heavy rocket for lunar missions and to the Mars in the future.”