Two years have passed since the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that lead to the nuclear reactor accident in Fukushima, Japan in March 2011. This past month, Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie, a town only a few miles north of the nuclear plant, invited Google to explore the city shaken by the earthquake and abandoned following the spread of radiation from Fukushima. This slideshow contains scenes from our virtual exploration of the town that formerly held over 20,000 residents, and now plays home to garbage, a few cleanup crews, and many ghostly abandoned structures.
Asia’s current space race could turn into an arms race akin to the Cold War, according to James Clay Moltz, a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He makes that argument in a recent Nature commentary.
The major Asian nations, including China, Japan, India, and South Korea, are all expanding their space programs with little-to-no cooperation. These efforts are driven by national prestige and geopolitical rivalries, similar to the US-Soviet space race of the 1960s. Like that period, this space race is stimulating technological advances, but competing agendas are leading to duplication of work and mistrust—in other words, a waste of resources. Even worse, this competition is undermining recent cooperation between the US, Russia, and Europe.