It was last Saturday. The Japanese Space Agency placed a probe of its own design on the surface of the moon for the first time, launching from its territory. If everything does not go exactly as it should and the rest of the mission seems to be in jeopardy due to the failure of the solar panels that ensure its electricity supply, the fact remains that history will remember that Japan thus became the fifth country on the planet to produce electricity. They have put a machine on the moon, following Russia and the United States in the 1960s, and China and India more recently.
And Europe? Nearly fifty years after its creation, the European Space Agency has never crossed this threshold. And, of course, there is the ambitious Artemis program, which aims to return men and women to the infertile soil of Earth's satellite from 2026, more than half a century after the end of the Apollo missions. But the Europeans – including perhaps Belgian Raphaël Leguis – who board these ships at Cape Canaveral will take a backseat, with overall controls remaining largely in American hands.
Conquering space needs a new Neil Armstrong
This speaks volumes about the delay Europe has experienced in space in recent years. Certainly, space activity and exploration of the universe are not limited to conquering the moon. The European Space Agency can boast of implementing numerous programmes, some of which today play a decisive role in Earth observation or satellite navigation, but the accumulated delays in missions to further horizons and the current inability to equip itself with a new launcher nevertheless give a measure of the danger of landing the Old Continent in This race for prestige is being fought today by everyone who claims to be among the great powers.
We understand: space is a key issue for everyone who wants to strengthen their position in the world, ensure their technological independence, stimulate their growth and ensure their defense and military capacity, as the Secretary of State states in these columns. . Europe must take full measures on this matter. And to give ourselves the means.
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