An Obama administration failure to get ratification of the so-called New Start treaty – as now seems probable – will inject damaging tensions into U.S. relations with Germany and other key NATO allies in Europe.
On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 launched from Cape Canaveral. A few days later, on Christmas Eve, its crew became the first humans to enter the gravitational pull of another body away from the home planet. The crew’s reading of Genesis from lunar orbit captivated a worldwide audience, and the astronauts brought home what may have been the most profound photograph in history: the famous “Earthrise” showing the blue planet Earth rising over the moon’s desolation, suspended in the dark of space. This was a stunning moment in the history of exploration, leading to the Apollo 11 landing a few months later.
After a decade in declining cooperation on space research, the EU and the U.S. have agreed to a breakthrough joint venture. In a letter of intent released in November, the two powers announced an agreement to design unmanned spacecraft for exploration of the surface of Mars. The stakes are high in the light of the prestige associated with the countries that fund scientific advances in space, but progress is contingent on the funding required to carry out the research. So far, the financial details are unclear.
ESA (European Space Agency) faces the threat of having no way to get its cargo and astronauts to the international space station (ISS) because NASA has decided to cut off the U.S. space shuttle early - in 2010 - five years before a new generation of space craft take over the transport duties.
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