News / Science & Technology

Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age
Elizabeth Lee

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and so has the nature of space exploration.

More than four decades ago, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step onto the moon. With the planting of an American flag on the lunar surface, the United States claimed the lead in space exploration. No longer, said Aldrin.

“We’re in not very good shape. We can’t even take our people to our space station that cost the United States $100 billion,” he said.

Aldrin said lunar exploration needs to continue in order to take the next giant step to Mars... adding, that will take cooperation with other countries that have joined the space-faring community.

“We need to lead at the moon. The only way we can lead at the moon is to cooperate with the Chinese and not compete with anybody, but help them as best we can. Every way we help will be a stepping stone for us to get to Mars,” said Aldrin.

Mars is goal

Mars is the goal for the U.S. space agency, but in a Skype interview, NASA’s Ellen Stofan said getting there will take time.

“Getting to Mars is really hard and it’s not just because it’s really far away, it takes about eight months to get there. It’s because we don’t have the technology right now to allow us to do it,”  said Stofan.

She said in order to get to Mars, the U.S. has to work with other countries  

“Most missions we do, whether they are planetary or astrophysics, we do it with international partners. It’s really the way we do business now," she said.

And those partners are not just foreign governments. They include private companies that will be taking astronauts to the space station from U.S. soil in 2017.  Companies, including Virgin Galactic, are also catering to scientists as well as space tourists.  Virgin's William Pomerantz said they aim to send their first customers into space sometime this year.

“Our ability is to take you up into outer space itself give you the view out the window and give your experiments several minutes of really high quality micro gravity.  So you’re now seeing this new generation of entrepreneurs, many of whom grew up watching those Apollo missions, who are now taking those technologies first developed by NASA and they’re further developing them."

Space tourism

Space engineer John Spencer, the founder of the Space Tourism Society, expects space tourism to become a big industry.

“The next decade will really be the breakthrough decade with hundreds of companies involved in space experiences, tourism return to the moon for tourism experiences. Exploration for Mars is starting,” said Spencer.

Space exploration also seems to still have the ability to inspire young people, including teens Reese Hartwig and Ella Wahlestedt, who had a chance to meet Aldrin.

“I think that would be cool to see Mars and cool to go,” said Hartwig.

“The Universe is so vast, so big, there’s got to be something more out there,” said Wahlestedt.

NASA also is asking - and hoping to answer - that question: Are we alone in the universe?

 

 

 

 

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs