NASA & Sweden in Moonbase Race?

The history book on the shelf,
Is always repeating itself…

Abba – “Waterloo” 

We’ve already been to the moon (unless you believe that the whole thing was done on a movie lot), but it looks like we’re going to stay a while the next time we go back. There just one question. Who’s gonna get there first? I experienced a little brain tickle this morning when I saw the news item that NASA is quietly planning a moonbase

For the first time since 1972, the United States is planning to fly to the moon, but instead of a quick, Apollo-like visit, astronauts intend to build a permanent base and live there while they prepare what may be the most ambitious undertaking in history — putting human beings on Mars.

It sounded vaguely familiar, and not because the presdient announced a plan to return to the moon a couple of years ago. I felt that brain tickle because I remembered hearing just a week or so ago that someone else was planning to do the same thing.

A quick search through my bookmarks, and I had the answer. In the race to colonize the moon, NASA has at least one competitor: Sweden.

The proof comes in the form of the innocent-looking SMART-Centre which, according to various reports, has assembled a consortium of more than 50 partners – including Japan’s Shimizu Corporation, US NASA contractor Orbitech and the UK’s Cranfield University – to turn the centre’s Dr. Niklas Järvstråt’s dreams of extraterrestrial conquest into reality.

 You won’t find much about a moonbase at the SMART-Center homepage. For that you’ll have to dig into their projects for the vision statement.

We have already taken the one small step for mankind and landed on the moon. We have seen it, we have conquered it, we have explored it – but our presence has not been sustained. For the benefit of mankind, the survival of our natural resources on Earth and for the proliferation of space exploration, it is now time for the next logical step – an international lunar colony. A colony where men, women and children can live without the need of a continuous supply of materials and technology from Earth; a self-supporting colony where the great circle of life can be sustained in its entirety by lunar raw materials and where all life-sustaining products will be manufactured in situ.

The Swedes have some other big plans in mind beyond moon — including exploring Mars, asteroids, other solar systems, etc., and trying their hand at world peace — but will it be more than they can handle? Then again, as the article linked above notes, NASA has its hands full with emptying its already-tapped-out pocketbook for space shuttle repairs, with a 2020 back-to-the-moon deadline looming over it. The Swedes have a deadline for lunar construction and immigration to happen sometime between 2018 and 2024.

So, it’s not a question of if human beings will return to the moon, but a matter of when and under which flag. Anyone care to lay bets?