Saturday science subject: Japan's moon base
We're already in 2006, but there's still a distinct lack of flying cars,
jetpacks, moon bases, and giant robots out there. Thankfully, Japan's
Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), aims to catch up by having
a base built on the moon by 2030. In an endeavor expected to cost a
staggering $26 billion, the folks at JAXA hope to have men sent to the
moon by 2020 and to have a base built there 10 years later. JAXA has yet
to receive funding for the project, but Nature says a "vocal group of
Japanese scientists" has pushed to make the plan go ahead.
As interesting as this project may sound, a European Space Agency
project manager quizzed by Nature has his doubts. He suggests that the
cost of a moon base is too high for a single country, and that such a
project would have to be a joint international effort. For its part, JAXA
hasn't yet decided whether it will enlist international help if its moon
base plan is to go ahead.