The world is witnessing a new space race developing between new players who have jumped into an arena which has been the exclusive preserve of the two erstwhile superpowers.
The new players include China, Russia and India who are jostling for space and vying for the title. China has been steadily inching towards establishing a permanent space station much like the Mir and Skylab spacecrafts. China has also seen its Lunar Rover land on the moon and start sending back pictures of the Moon.
The state news agency Xinhua news agency went on a patriotic high and said that “Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface the whole world again marvels at China’s remarkable space capabilities. China’s Cabinet, and the Central Military Commission hailed the mission as a “milestone” in the development of China’s space programs, a “new glory” in Chinese explorations and the “outstanding contribution” of China in mankind’s peaceful use of space,
Next Door neighbor India is also not far behind and has launched the nation’s first Orbiter which is hurtling for a rendezvous with the red planet sometime in September next year. The Orbiter is named Mangalyaan and has successfully broken free from the Earth’s gravitational pull and will reach Mars sometime in September 2014.
The Mars mission by India has also attracted a lot of flak since more than 50% of the Indian population have annual earnings of less than $1000 and live in poverty. However this has not stopped the emerging economy to aim for the stars.
The emotions are summed up in the words of Raghu Kalra of the Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi, “These missions are important. These are things that give Indians happiness and bragging rights. Even a poor person, when he learns that my country is sending a mission to another planet, he will feel a sense of pride for his country, and he will want to make it a better place.”
There are more than 70 countries which are trying to go for the stars and the pressure is on US to stay on the top and also help these nascent space faring nations.
Buzz Aldrin , former astronaut states, “A number of nations have evolved their capabilities to put humans into space and beyond Earth. We should help contribute to their exploration.”