Who builds the first camp on the moon and reaches Mars? The race is on, but even as we get closer to Earth, investment in space takes off in full.
The races to the Moon and Mars are marked by prestige and great power rivalry. But high technology and huge investments are just the tip of the iceberg. The growing space economy is primarily focused on real-world activities.
Norway is undoubtedly in the space race. There is technology produced in Norway on a number of space projects (see facts below). staff in Norwegian Space CentreNorwegian Space CentreThe Norwegian Space Center manages Norway’s investment in space. It is a government agency under the Ministry of Commerce and Fisheries. You will contribute to creating growth for the Norwegian high-tech industry linked to international space operations. Follows events surrounding new launches, landings, and missions.
But there are no plans for lunar bases or manned Norwegian flights to the solar system. There, the United States, China and Russia will be the major players. At least for the foreseeable future.
Antarctic success and forced landing
And on Wednesday, the Indians became the first to make a soft landing near the moon’s south pole, where there is hope of finding water. India also became the fourth country to achieve a so-called unmanned soft landing on the moon, with its Chandrayaan-3.
And these are the other three that had a soft landing, i.e. landing without further damage to the ship:
- The Soviet Union, with Luna 9 in 1966
- USA, with Surveyor 3 in 1967
- China, with Chang’e 3 in 2013
The attempts of other countries, such as Israel, the UAE and Japan, did not succeed. Last weekend, Russia failed to land its Luna 25 spacecraft, which landed near the moon’s south pole. Thus, the “victory of the South Pole” eluded the Putin regime.
But early Saturday, the Japanese space agency, JAXA, launched a lunar rover. He will explore the inner part of the moon.
And Russia is not out of the game
– In other words, in a few years there will be a large group of countries working on the moon?
– Yes, unmanned. There are at least five people lining up. And then of course we have Russia. He is the subject director of manned space travel and exploration at the Space Center.
– You don’t want to write them off after Luna fails?
– of course not. They still have to be counted.
Arvid Bertho Johansson
Head of the Manned Spaceflight and Exploration Division at the Norwegian Space Centre
Ukraine’s war has slowed progress to the Moon and Mars. The head of the Norwegian Space Center, Kristian Högli-Hansen, thinks so.
The United States and Russia have lost the possibility of effective cooperation. And that was expected. It is true that NASA has preferred cooperation with Europe, Canada and Japan, but Russia has been a cooperation partner for 30 years.
only on International Space StationInternational Space StationThe International Space Station, International Space Station, is a permanently inhabited space station in orbit around the Earth. It is operated by the USA (NASA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA), Russia (Roscosmos), and Europe (ESA). It is considered the largest international technology-based collaborative project in history. Source: The Great Norwegian Dictionary Cooperation is maintained. Högli-Hansen points out that the parties here are completely dependent on each other.
The function of the space station depends on the expertise of each party.
And the Russians are needed to maintain the orbit of the space station.
under the race
But the space business is about much more than just exploring new worlds.
– The other dimension, which is actually much larger, is the thousands and thousands of scientists, researchers and others who are really interested in advancing the development of knowledge and technology. Not the least of which is the development of services that benefit us who live here on Earth, says Högli-Hansen.
And that often comes under the shadow of the great race, he says—to be first.
Christian Högli Hansen
Director General at the Norwegian Space Centre
Create a space economy
– For the past 20 years, the space station has been the main focus of manned spaceflight, says Johansen.
– and points out that this is the most advanced laboratory ever made by a laboratory man.
When the space station is decommissioned around 2030, low Earth orbits will be left to other players. Commercial players will try to create a space economy, and China has built its own space station.
– And now the gaze is largely turned outward. It represents a shift, Johansen says.
It must be useful and profitable
For the Norwegian Space Center, space activities are closely linked to what happens on Earth.
– We assessed which areas of society are of particular interest to Norway and our space activities, says Högli-Hansen.
It highlights in particular:
- Security policy
- northern regions
- Nutritional evolution
- climate and sustainability
The underlying technology is interesting, but it’s not the main thing. It is the social benefit we get from business that can support the investments we make. This is the important discussion, says the Norwegian chamber’s director to Aftenposten.
A record year for launches
2022 was a record year for the aviation sector, with 186 successful launches. There were 41 more than the previous year.
There are now nearly 7,000 satellites in orbit around the Earth. A sharp increase is expected in the coming years.
Its main areas of use – and potential income – are communications, navigation and Earth observation. There are areas that we feel most in everyday life on Earth:
Telephones, GPS signals, television, weather forecasting, financial transactions, fisheries, shipping, water and electricity supplies, road and rail traffic management. Not least of which are climate control and defense activities.
Large weather and climate models depend entirely on the existence of operational systems, says Johansen.
Meanwhile, major nations are looking for a full space program, not just space travel.
They want their own communication, navigation and surveillance capabilities. This is also an important part of the space business that more and more countries are building. The subject manager indicates that they want to be independent.
America’s Greatest Horror
The last time a human stood on the moon was in 1972. The goal of the United States is to return a manned mission to the moon again around 2025/2026. While China said it would manage it by 2030.
Last year, the United States spent $62 billion on its space activities. He is miles ahead of everyone else. China provided $12 billion, followed by Japan (4.9), France (4.2), Russia (3.4), Germany (2.5), and India with a modest $1.9 billion.
And Hawley-Hansen believes that China’s strong growth in this area has gone under the radar for many:
– They have their own space station, and they send their own astronauts. I think the biggest fear for the United States is if China suddenly goes to the moon. The landing of astronauts.
Big effects to come
When will there be a human being on Mars?
– I think we will experience that in our lifetime. Maybe in 20 years, says the director of the space center. He highlights obstacles such as radiation and food and water supplies, not the least of which is the ability to “endure three years in a cramped capsule with others”.
He believes that the medical, psychological and social aspects will likely be the biggest challenge.
The topic manager stresses a key point about the benefit of investing in space:
All fields are examples of technology being pushed to the limits. And it will have major impacts on the Earth, through recycling, growing food and all possible uses. “We’re going to take advantage of this, which we don’t fully understand right now,” says Johansen.
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