Despite the fact that the United States is the leading space power (at least in this solar system), it looks like they may now have some serious competition from China, who recently was able to complete their first space walk (a feat that very few nations have achieved).
(Video: China’s first space walk, Hat Tip: Spaceports)
Even though the Asian giant has a long ways to go (technology wise) in order to catch up with both Russia and the United States, China is already gazing further upward towards a terrestrial body once grazed by American footprints.
(Space.com) “We still do not have an exact timetable for a manned mission to the moon, but I believe a Chinese (astronaut) will set foot on the moon in the not too distant future,” an unnamed official told the Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily after the mission landed.
Wang Zhaoyao, spokesman for the manned space program, told reporters Sunday that it is “necessary” for China to put a man on the moon, the Agence France-Presse news service reported.
“We believe that as long as we can make further progress in science and technology, we can achieve the dream of a manned space flight to the moon in the near future,” he said.
Despite the fact that China is in no position to currently challenge the United States for space supremacy, their future is looking a little brighter than their western friend, as the US is facing a financial crisis that could potentially derail NASA’s attempts at establishing a lunar base in the not so distant future.
To make matters even more interesting, a few analysts expect China’s economy to surpass the United States by 2035 (if not sooner), which will give them a financial advantage in not only creating outposts on the Moon, but harvesting the helium-3 within its soil.
America’s only hope for solar dominance may lie in NASA and NewSpace teaming up for the final frontier, which (thankfully) is a concept that is quickly becoming a reality (hat tip: Space Transport News).