Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lee calls on S. Korea to join ILN

The Chosun IIbo (South Korean) President Lee Myung-bak wants Korea to join an international lunar exploration program. In a speech at the opening of the 60th International Astronautical Congress in Daejeon on Monday, Lee said, "Many countries are cooperating to carry out large-scale space projects such as the lunar exploration program."

He said gaining an understanding of outer space through international cooperation and sharing achievements in space research "are necessary to improve quality of life for all mankind."

Lee was referring to the International Lunar Network project which brings together eight countries under NASA supervision and aims to explore the environment and resources of the Moon by sending six to eight robotic spacecraft to various locations on the lunar surface and building mobile or fixed science stations.

The ILN was chosen on the agenda for the Korea-U.S. summit last year, and Korea signed a letter of intent to join. The government has set a goal to launch a lunar orbit satellite by 2020 and a lunar probe by 2025. Before it attains this goal, it is looking for help in obtaining space technology by participating in the ILN.

Lee also said, "Korea is strong in information technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology. The country can make contributions significantly, though belatedly, to the development of the world's space industry, if it uses those technologies to enhance space technology."

The congress is attended by about 3,000 space experts from some 70 countries and will run until Oct. 16.

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