Monday, April 12, 2010
Russian President Medvedev Proposes International Space Summit
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev proposes that spacefaring nations combine their efforts.
Florida Today reports that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has proposed an international summit of spacefaring nations to pool their resources.
Medvedev's proposal was made in a phone call to the International Space Station to celebrate the 49th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's flight into space, the first time in human history.
To quote from Florida Today:
"No country can develop space alone, we need to combine our efforts and we need to talk about it more often," Medvedev added. "So maybe we could have some sort of international meeting, maybe at the heads of governments level. Because we talk about various issues, such as tackling all kinds of challenges, dangers and hazards that humanity is facing these days, various disarmament programs, etc., but there is a very important and positive factor that unites us all. So maybe it would be good to have a summit, maybe at the heads of governments level, for the countries that are working in space. So see, I have a very good idea on this holiday. What do you think? We could invite you to participate as well."
Just my idle speculation, but what if President Obama's space policy speech scheduled for Thursday at Kennedy Space Center is to formally accept the proposal? And perhaps hold it at KSC?
The Obama administration has repeatedly stated in defense of its proposed FY 2011 NASA budget that we can no longer afford to go alone, that we need to build upon the model of the ISS partnership to pursue missions beyond Low Earth Orbit as multinational projects.
I've read a lot of bellyaching by people who falsely claim that Obama is giving away our supposed "leadership" in space, as if such a thing actually exists.
In reality, Obama and Medvedev have both suggested in their own ways that we must go to space as a single species. The ISS is one example. It's a partnership. The question of who is "#1" on the ISS is irrelevant. The United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan work jointly for the benefit of humanity.
A global space summit would take the next logical step. The leaders of the world could agree on a joint plan for a multinational program to return to the Moon, establish a permanent lunar colony, and plan one day for a global mission to Mars.
How petty and selfish would look the people demanding that Obama keep the status quo regardless of the cost or actual value to humanity.
If the space summit were held in the Space Coast, what would these people say? Would they line the streets of A1A to protest the presence of Russians and Chinese who might bring jobs to their region? Or would their illogical xenophobia suddenly evaporate once they realize the nations they've labelled our "enemies" will bring jobs here?
I suspect it would be the latter.