North Korea’s Kim Jong Un won’t be winning a Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon, but he’s getting closer to becoming a James Bond villain.
That’s because the socialist dictatorship has announced they plan to be on the Moon within 20 years.
That may sound ridiculous, but it’s surprisingly within their reach.
The Associated Press reports:
“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon,” said Hyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration.
North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
An unmanned, no-frills North Korean moon mission in the not-too-distant future isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. Outside experts say it’s ambitious, but conceivable. While the U.S. is the only country to have conducted manned lunar missions, other nations have sent unmanned spacecraft there and have in that sense planted their flags.
“It would be a significant increase in technology, not one that is beyond them, but you have to debug each bit,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains an exhaustive blog on international satellites and satellite launches, said in an email to the AP.
North Korea already has rocket technology capable of reaching space. Their Kwangmyongsong 4, “Brilliant Star 4” rocket successfully placed two satellites in orbit just this year
But unlike the United States, North Korea’s reasons to seeking to land on the moon are less than peaceful.
The DPRK is investing billions of its scarce cash into developing technology to disrupt U.S. computer systems and satellites, as well as deliver nuclear warheads into the interior of the United States.
The development of a lunar space program would not only lead North Korea to the development of missiles capable of striking anywhere on Earth, but also provides them a possible base of operations to electronically monitor and disrupt American military technology.