Russia is beating U.S. in the race to Mars. Apparently, America seemed to be only at third place in the race as China is at the second place. Russia is sending monkeys to Mars in 2017. China plans to reach Mars by 2020. NASA is still in the process of developing the capabilities it need to send humans to Mars by 2030.
Russia is training up a group of rhesus macaques, a breed of monkeys that exhibits impressive cognitive activities and high IQ, for a six-month exploration to Mars by 2017. Team of experts at the Russian Academy of Science, led by Inessa Kozlovskaya, is training four monkeys three hours a day for their future travel into space, the Daily Mail reported.
At this point the monkeys are being trained to control a joystick to target a highlighted cursor. Eventually the training will involve solving mathematical tasks and puzzles. At the end of the training module especially crafted for the mission, the monkey would be able to complete a daily schedule of tasks without any supervision. The ultimate goal of the mission is for these monkeys to be able to train other monkeys of their type and recruit them into the team.
Dr. Kozlovskaya told the Daily Mail she is very optimistic that these monkeys will be ready to explore space by 2017. “What we are trying to do is to make them as intelligent as possible so we can use them to explore space beyond our orbit,” Kozlovskaya said.
Earlier this year, Morning News USA reported that Pentagon has increased its spending budget to more than $5 billion in order to develop the nation’s space war capabilities. The department is working with the intelligence community and private industry in developing command centers that will fend off attack in orbit from Russia and China. According to Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, the end to an era where America was the world’s only superpower in space technology has ended. “Russia represents a clear and present danger,” according to Work, and China, on the other hand, will present “a significant and varied challenge over the next 25 years.”
In 2014, China has finalized its plan of exploring Mars by 2030. Its plans on Mars involve creating space probes, an orbiter and rover, South China Morning Post reported last year. Early in October this year, Space.com reported that China is lobbying for other countries to invest in its future manned space station.
In an article titled “China, The Next Superpower,” CNN noted that China is pursuing its space ambitions when other world powers have already lay-low on space exploration – in the case of U.S. this is due to budget constraints. China on the other hand is very much supported by the richest people of the Chinese Communist Party.
Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, told CNN that U.S. has still the best space technology in the world. The country however lacks the political will to fund a mission which could bring a man to Mars. “It would cost the US $140 billion for a true moon and Mars exploration mission but sticker shock would kill it instantly. In terms of perception, America has already cede its leadership in exploration to China,” she said.