Published July 09, 2008
Space. It's everyone else's final frontier.
The U.S. is in deep danger of losing its longtime lead in the space race, a long analysis in Wednesday's Washington Post concludes.
Half a dozen countries and transnational agencies have satellite programs and are preparing for human spaceflight, the paper reports, including South Korea, India, Israel, Brazil, Japan and the European Space Agency.
The Russian space program is rapidly modernizing as the U.S. relies on 30-year-old space shuttles. Analysts predict the next humans to walk on the Moon will be Chinese.
"We spent many tens of billions of dollars during the Apollo era to purchase a commanding lead in space over all nations on Earth," NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin states in the article. "We've been living off the fruit of that purchase for 40 years and have not ... chosen to invest at a level that would preserve that commanding lead."
While the rest of the world races to catch up, a consulting firm cited in the article finds Americans suffering from space fatigue in the wake of the Challenger and Columbia disasters, with the main problem being "limited public interest in space activity."