Fifty years since the first moon landing
Fifty years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon. Another twelve astronauts followed in their footsteps until 1972, when visits to the moon ceased. But recently interest in space travel has grown - not least because of China's successes in this area. What is the real motivation behind space exploration?
A patriotic race
Back then as now the rockets to the moon are fuelled above all by national pride, El Periódico de Catalunya believes:
“Today the desire to fly to the moon and even beyond is on the table once more. And it continues to be a race fuelled to a large extent by national pride and the desire to prove one's technological and industrial superiority. ... China is the first country to have landed on the dark side of the moon and now wants to set up a station there. Donald Trump has announced that the United States, with its 'Artemisa' programme, will be the first nation to send a woman to the moon in 2024, and there are plans to use the moon as a kind of transit station for manned flights to Mars. A new race with uncertain results in which, like 50 years ago, the main goal is to establish who rules the Earth.”
Privatising the future
Die Presse observes that unlike 50 years ago it is private-sector interests that now drive space flight:
“When they were children, today's captains of industry dreamt of following in the footsteps of US officers Armstrong and Aldrin. Now they have enough money to make these dreams come true themselves. It is impossible to foresee what this privatised future holds. But if a corporate-owned spacecraft should take Amazon, Google or Tesla staff to Mars one day, then it is highly unlikely that they will bring a flag along - rather a patent attorney to secure the copyright on the red planet's red colour.”