The Japanese are working on a proposal to help NASA build a lunar moon base within the next twenty years, according to this PC World article.
The idea is more than a pipe-dream; it is part of a 20-year plan, called JAXA Vision 2025, that was drawn up by Keiji Tachikawa, a former president of Japan’s largest mobile operator, NTT DoCoMo, who is now president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
I’ve long engaged friends in the debate over the absolute necessity of our space program. I’m a huge believer that our desire to explore space is not only at the fundamental heart of who we are as a species (explorers, that is), but also at the heart of insuring that we as a people eventually come together (as much as 8 billion people can).
One giant leap for mankind was more than just a catchy phrase.
Unfortunately, I think the international space station has set back our goal to reach out into space (although, as an experiment, I believe it will eventually be invaluable to our next efforts). The cost, continued problems, and murky mission have made it difficult for the general population to digest its importance.
Colonizing the moon, though, has a certain ‘wow’ factor to it that is more understandable than colonizing space. And the advances in robotics – required for a successful colonization – would undoubtedly lead to real-world advancements that even the most cynical would be able see.