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The quest for the final frontier is still very much on. But rather than the Cold War-era space race between the two governments of the United States and Soviet Union, the competition now has many players, both public and private.


The public sector these days includes China, which recently announced plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars within the next five years, Chinese state-run agency Xinhua reported. The pledge is a direct challenge to NASA, whose ETA for landing a rover mission on the Red Planet is set for July 2020. The U.S. space agency is also shooting for a manned mission to Mars by 2030, and has just completed a year-long simulation of such an experience in a remote site in Hawaii. The BBC quotes Cyprien Verseux, one of the six scientists who took part in the simulation: "I can give you my personal impression which is that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic."


Meanwhile, Moscow is still in the race. This Kommersant article reports that the Russian space agency Roscosmos plans — among other things — a satellite mission in 2019 to determine the effects of prolonged space travel and zero gravity on a living organism.


But beyond the national agencies, the race for the stars now includes individual entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The Economist magazine reports this week on the growing private business competition in space, including everything from the GPS satellite technology that helps you find a restaurant to unknown galaxies that could reveal the meaning of life. Buckle up, this is a ride for the ages.

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Geopolitics

Why The West Is Finally Taking A Harder Line On Iran

After years of ignoring or downplaying domestic protests in Iran, Western states and media have begun to imagine — and even prepare for — the still slim but growing possibility of a regime change in Tehran.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivering a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Kayhan London

-Analysis-

LONDON — In past weeks, European countries and the United States have adopted a harsher tone against Iran, with criticisms going beyond the issue of stalled talks to revive the 2015 multilateral pact on Iran's nuclear program.

While the European Union and United States are still reluctant to declare the pact dead or ditch all hope of restarting talks with Tehran, they know the negotiations are at death's door. That is because the Iran has shown it has no intention of ending nuclear activities with the aim of developing a bomb.

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