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Henry M. Robert

“The Moon must become our goal”

This opinion was expressed by Ukrainian researchers and developers at a conference in Dnipro
13 June, 2017 - 11:58
AP photo

Ukraine must become partner to the world’s most advanced space technology nations in projects related to the research and exploration of the Moon. This was the theme of the Sixth International Scientific Conference “Space Technologies: Present and Future,” held in Dnipro under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics. The forum was attended by some 450 scientists and experts from 20 countries, among which the US, China, the UK, Germany, Italy, and France.

The roundtable “Lunar Industrial-Research Base” became one of the major events at the conference. The participants presented brief overviews of the activity of their organizations and the summaries of research and exploration of the Moon. At the roundtable opinions were expressed concerning Ukraine’s place in the Lunar project. In particular, the speakers emphasized that our country must grab the chance to take part in such an ambitious international space project. This participation need not necessarily entail considerable expenditures. “Such issues need to be discussed,” believes Yaroslav Yatskiv, member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. “On the other hand, Ukraine’s potential is still not high enough to allow us explore the Moon on our own. We used to have the Selena Project, which we intended to implement in Ukraine: the launch of a polar satellite. Yet the terms of financing meant that this unique idea of a Ukrainian satellite to study the Moon’s polar areas, which might contain water and might become the location for research bases, was never realized. However, the discussion of a possible Lunar industrial and research base is a great suggestion by the Pivdenne State Design Office. We must integrate into the global community of space-exploring nations together with China, the US, or the European Space Agency. Whatever we are better at, must become part of these international missions. In other words, we must be accepted as a partner. Just like the Pivdenne SDO is partner in such projects as Antares or Vega.” Yatskiv believes that Ukraine has quite something to offer to its potential partners. For one, the Paton Institute of Electric Welding can make unfolding constructions. This can be one of the options. Ukrainian biologists can create space greenhouses and grow plants, which could be used, for instance, to feed people.

“Of course, Ukraine cannot implement such a large-scale project on its own. I dare express a non-conventional idea: Ukraine will not become a joining link, either. It will be a big project under ESA and NASA. But we must participate in it. We must make the Moon our goal,” says Pavlo Dehtiarenko, chief constructor at the Construction Office One. International participants of the conference also believe that there is potential for cooperation with Ukraine, and a considerable one at that.

By Vadym RYZHKOV, The Day, Dnipro