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Next january 1 1999, 11 countries of the European Union will share an unprecedented historical moment: the birth of the Euro, the new European currency.
Although this is great news for persons who, like me, share the idea of a tightly integrated and united Europe, it's hardly the kind of event which makes people jump around. I think the time has come for the European Union to do something great, something to make europeans proud about, something to put the old Europe ahead of the world, straight into our future...
It's time to go to the moon. And remain up there!
Well, it's just about what the title says: taking the European Union to the Moon! More formally, I'm supporting the notion than the EU should start, develop and maintain a space program with the goals of:
Please notice I'm talking about going to the moon and staying there. I'm not proposing an Euro-Apollo program to take a few astronauts to our satellite to do some hiking and go back to earth!
There are plenty of reasons to do so. Let's explore the most obvious ones:
It is obvious that a project like this has a very high monetary cost. Of course the money factor has to be a concern. But in my opinion, it's worth the effort to pay this amount of money. I don't want to repeat the reasons exposed over here, but let me point to some thoughts about this:
This is an easy question: yes, without a doubt!
Let's take some examples of Europe facing off a technological challenge and beating it to the point of taking the world leadership in a previously unexploited (by the europeans) area:
It seems like there is no technological challenge the
europeans can't beat. And, by the way, earning money in the
process. So... no doubt: europe can do it!
Well, it's always welcome. But...
Take a look at the ISS (International Space Station). Although the "I" its an almost american project, leaded by NASA, with the cooperation of the RKA (the russian space agency) in some components, and with a little aid of the NASDA (japanese space agency), our ESA and other countries. The crew will be mostly american. The vehicle used to transport crews to the ISS and back will be the space shuttle...
The moon project proposed in this page could be similar, with Europe taking the lead. The help of the other spacefaring nations would be essential, of course. For example, the ESA does not have (by now) the capability of launching manned vehicles to space. To cut the costs, this technology could be borrowed (or bought!) from the russians: the Soyuz vehicles are reliable and proven!
And the very same ISS could have an important role in this project too! I don't want to speculate in the technical details of HOW to do it (I'm not an aerospatial engineer after all!), but the crafts used to transfer men and supplies between LEO and the moon could park near the ISS to ease the maintenance/service process.
Do you think I'm fool? Stupid? Do you think this is a great idea? Should we press the european institutions to think about it? Please drop me some lines and let me know what do you think about this. This form generates an email message, so it won't work if your browser is unable to do so.
Please note the two questions I ask at the bottom of the text area. If you answer "yes" to the first one, I understand you authorize me to list your email address as supporter of the idea explained in this page. If you answer "yes" to the second one, I'll try to keep you up-to-date in my progress.
I've created a forum to discuss this issue in dejanews. Please follow this link to view the discussion. Of course you're encouraged to contribute in any way with your opinion and point of view.
Of course, any kind of help is welcome. I'm not a web designed, so I've tried to put the things as simple as posible. If you want to lend me a hand building a more attractive page, please let me know it.
I'm in a desperate need of figures about the potential cost and benefit of a project like this. I'd like to document this page to make it more serious. Now it's only a lot of wording with no substance. Please help me to fix this!
Some links of interest about the European Institutions and space exploration:
These ones are personal pages of people and organizations interested in space exploration. Please consider that their point of view may or may not coincide with mine :-).
Please send your comments to email@example.com
This page is Copyright (c) - Jordi Guillaumes
Pons - Barcelona 1.998
Last updated at 24/09/98