Will China Beat Japan To The Moon?
That’s the question indirectly posed in an article in the Wall Street Journal today. Before reading on, take a moment to vote on the issue yourself:
Japan Doesn’t Care So Much
Many people in Japan, in typical Japanese fashion, claim not to really care about who gets to the moon first.Â Here is a Japanese position on landing a man on the moon:
Japanese space officials are more circumspect. Tatsuo Oshima, a spokesman for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, says, “pure scientific purposes” are what motivate his country. “We are not in space development because we are competing with other nations,” he says.
In 2005, the Japanese space agency laid out a blueprint for space exploration that included plans for a human presence on the moon by 2025. But Mr. Oshima says the agency currently has neither the budget nor the expertise to achieve these goals.
Who does care is just about every man, woman, and child in China. Hatred against Japan runs deep in China, as does nationalism, so it’s no surprise to find out that many Chinese people are rooting for China to get to the moon first. And you can be sure that the Chinese leadership in Beijing also considers it a high priority to land a man on the moon before Japan, no matter the cost. Here is a Chinese position on the issue:
For China, the aim is explicitly political, as well as scientific. “Lunar exploration reflects a country’s comprehensive national power,” said Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist for China’s moon program, in an interview with the official Communist Party newspaper, People’s Daily. It will “raise our international prestige and strengthen the cohesion of our people.”
If Japan somehow makes it to the moon before China (despite it being just a medium level priority for Japanese leadership), expect riots in the street.
Would you agree?