NASA’s upcoming announcement for their unambitious plans in which they may or may not be seeking international partners got me thinking about what is ambitious, what is not and the relationship between agencies.
If we take ambitious to mean ‘Intended to satisfy high aspirations’ then for me an ambitious space project would mean landing people on the moon, setting up a permanent base on the moon and after that setting off for a manned mission to Mars (one-way or return). That would truly be ambitious.
So with that in mind which space agencies are ambitious? Well I have only found three space agencies that have real plans for a manned mission to the moon (that means actually landing astronauts on the moon) and that is China’s CNSA, Europe’s ESA and Russia’s RFSA. The other ‘major’ players such as NASA, JAXA and ISRO seem to have no real current plans.
While I completely support the major space agencies working together it’s imperative that they plan ambitious missions together, for the benefit of everyone without letting petty ideological/political nonsense get in the way of achieving major goals. If NASA continues to exclude China (especially when the other nations have no problem) from projects such as the ISS then they may very well find themselves losing out as China goes it alone or works with Russia to meet its targets. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer!
Though finally I would like to add that I personally couldn’t care less weather American short-sightedness back-fires on them (again).