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The End of the Space Race

Today the oldest of America's space shuttles (the Discovery shuttle) has landed back on Earth for the last time.

 Today’s landing brought the end to Discovery’s 27-year long career.

Spending on space exploration has been stalling in recent years, as less less governments around the world invest in space exploration. This decline in government investment has however come at a time when private spending on space projects is rapidly increasing. My first article of the year talked about mobile phones in space, just one example of private investment in space and it's many uses.

When man landed on the moon for the first time in 1969, it was the United States government that sent Apollo 11 to the moon. Mars was the next target, and before the global recession President Barack Obama said how he hoped to be landing on this planet by the 2030's. Is this still possible though? With less spending on space by governments will this still be possible, and if so will it be private investors that take us there?

Moon Buggy Mark II which was built for further space exploration and cost $4.5 million has had to be scrapped. Why? Well despite it's twelve wheels, ability to get up to speeds of over 10mph, amazing off road suspension and all its other fancy tools, it is being scrapped. $4.5 million down the drain, as the funding simply isn't there any more. NASA's second Space Exploration Vehicle will never leave Earth.

So is the space race over? Well it seems to have lost its steam if nothing else. There is now no funding for the next moon mission, meaning that for the foreseeable future, only 12 men will have trodden on the moon in all of creation.
 Moon Buggy Mark II (NASA)

The future is uncertain at the best of times, but as for space exploration it is even more so. Private investment it likely to increase as the world digs itself out of the global recession, but would a private firm really put a man in space, let alone on mars? Only the future can tell!

Posted By: Christopher (Admin)
Date posted: 9th March 2011

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