The Influence of the Cold War on Space Exploration

Since WWII, Soviet and Russian foreign policies have had a serious concern with relations of the United States. History has it that during the post-WWII era the United States emerged as an “ultimate guarantor of European security against attack from the east and the top military power in the NATO alliance.” In the 1950s the Soviet Union was the first to develop nuclear capability, then nuclear strategy, which was a critical factor against the Soviet-United States relations. This nuclear threat caused tremendous fear to the entire world for the possible potential of assured destruction. It wasn’t until the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) in 1972 that relations between the two superpower countries began to ease.

Things have changed a lot since then, with the United State’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration maintaining a large presence in Russia. NASA’s offices are at the U.S. Embassy, Star City, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, and the Moscow Mission Control Center-a long ways since the WWII days. The NASA Moscow Liaison Office (NMLO), which is in the United States Embassy. Established in 1994, it was developed for coordinating “all aspects of NASA’s cooperative activities between aeronautics and space, along with Russian counterparts.

In Russia along with the United States, the NASA’s organizational activities have four categories. Called the “Strategic Enterprises,” they fall into the areas of Space Science, Earth Science, Human Exploration and Development of Space, and Aeronautics and Advanced Space Transportation Technology. These activities are significant, in addition to extensive contacts with the Russian Space Agency (RSA)and the Russian Academy of Science, along with the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and the Khrunicheve State Research & Production Center. As this shows, there has been a major cooperation in the space field between Russian and the United States, demonstrating a space cooperation which has been making progress in the space field jump forward.

Some of these programs of the Mars Exploration programs since the 1980s were the NASA 2001 Mars Odyssey, NASA 1998 Mars Climate Orbiter, NASA 1998 Mars Polar Lander, and the Russian Mars 1996, with the latter three mission lost prior to their completion. It was the Russian High Energy Neuron Detector (HEND) on the Odyssey which suggested large quantities of frozen water on Mars, with the Mars Odyssey still in orbit around Mars gathering data regarding any chemical compositions of the red planet’s surface. At the present time, NASA and Russia are developing the DAN, or Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons, an investigation for the NASA 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) flight mission.