China already has plans for developing a 25 tonne payload launch vehicle, and plans for an unmanned lunar sample return mission. With these elements plus the Shenzou, China would have almost all they would need for landing a man on the moon. It would only be a flag and footprints kind of mission, but it could truly shame the Russians and the Europeans.<br /><br />
"Hence, an incentive for them to "assist" China?"<br /><br />Assist? Heck, except for the 'moon rocketchair' (and money!) the Russians already have everything they need to do the mission. I think the Russians try to avoid the moon because there is no glory in it for them, since the Americans already beat them there. If they could I think the Russians would like to beat us to Mars, but they are too poor to seriously try.<br /><br />The Chinese on the other hand don't seem to mind that they are following in the footsteps of Russia (by sending up thier own manned spacecraft into orbit). The Chinese may not have been first, but beating the rest of the world seems like enough glory to motivate them. And if that's the case maybe there would be enough glory to motivate them to beat the rest of the world to the moon as well.<br /><br />I can't recall where exactly I saw it, maybe Spaceflight magazine?, but the proud Europeans are rather annoyed that the Chinese beat them to orbit. I think that's a large reason why the Europeans are cooperating with Russia on the Kliper spacecraft. The Europeans are tired of being shown up and want a manned spacecraft of thier own.<br /><br />The more the merrier I say!
Serves us europeans right. We have EELV's that could be man rated or changed to make them so and we could have done it before the chinese. Instead we send the occasional person to the ISS. Our governments are complacent and don't really have enough 'continental' identity to gang together and try and beat anyone else. If the ESA was to go to mars, it would probably need space for 20+ people (enough fom each country), then one country will say that they pay more so should get more spaces etc. The end result is that no-one would be happy until the entire population went!<br />
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>If the ESA was to go to mars<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Actually, the ESA is already at Mars. It's a highly successful mission called Mars Express.
Isn't it funny how nations like France & Germany and England have yet to develop their own manned space programs...<br /><br />And England has some kind of LAW against manned space programs altogether (cannot remember what the reasoning was) - as a result, very few brits have flown in space - and those that have have done so outside of their gov't space programs. <br /><br /><br />I don't believe Russia could do a moon mission all that eaisly. Even a lunar orbiting mission is terribly risky - especially since it's never been done (by them) before. <br />
The ESA has too many members. The larger an international organization is the more unwieldy it becomes as more and more of it's efforts are wasted on arguing over who contributes what and who gets what. It becomes an exercise in herding cats, be it the ESA, the ISS, or the UN.<br /><br />A small international coalition with just 2 to 4 members that is geared towards a specific goal is more likely to accomplish something that a large organization.<br /><br />
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>The ESA has too many members. The larger an international organization is the more unwieldy it becomes as more and more of it's efforts are wasted on arguing over who contributes what and who gets what. It becomes an exercise in herding cats, be it the ESA, the ISS, or the UN. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />The ESA is not really structure in a way that requires constant particpation by all members. Members can opt out of many of the ESA projects, and these projects will still continue, even if only one or two nations fund them. That's actually the beauty of the ESA: small missions championed by only a few countries don't get raided for money by the larger flagship programs.<br /><br />Where your argument about infighting does have merit is in the large flagship program, Aurora. Without support and money from most of the members, this is simply too expensive a program to undertake. However, one nation cannot sink the program. For example, the UK can opt not to fund Kliper development, but that's not going to kill ESA participation.
> <i><font color="yellow">The larger an international organization is the more unwieldy it becomes</font>/i><br /><br />That is usually true with any organization, especially when the partipants view themselves as equals with no clear line of authority. Almost any legislative body (e.g., US Congress) is a good example.</i>