Space Race Heats Up

What with all the Joe the Plumber, Caribou Barbie, McCain tongue-wagging talk, some of you may have missed the news about a new lunar mission.

Yes, I know that diaper-wearing, Katie-Couric-on-a-bad-morning-look-alike astronaut Lisa Nowak‘s case has been back in court with her lawyers’ attempts to get the wacko stuff found in her car like wigs, duct tape and maps thrown out as evidence. That’s just loony, not lunar.

Here’s the lunar race I’m writing about.

FYI, India launched its first lunar mission — Chandrayaan-1 which means “moon craft” in ancient Sanskrit — this morning with hopes of mapping the moon’s surface. They’re looking for potential energy sources.

“A principal objective is to look for Helium 3, an isotope which is very rare on earth but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in the future, some scientists believe.”

The quote above is from an article at Scientific American.

Japan and China are also very interested in the moon and have launched orbiters around the big green cheese.

NASA does have some payload on the Indian lunar lander and will benefit from the exploration.

Is the USA ahead of the game with its Mars rover (which you can follow on Twitter @MarsPhoenix) or overlooking what’s right in our “backyard”?

It makes me wonder just how many more $$$$ will be pumped into space exploration in the coming years as other nation’s take serious shots into outer space.

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