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Arthur C. Clarke died earlier this year aged 90. Known as “the colossus of science fiction”, Arthur became famous for his vision about futuristic communication satellites, the moon landings he foresaw, and much else.
But why then, in 2008, aren’t we back again on the Moon, or already on Mars? Why are we still stuck with space shuttles and an ageing space station? Why is most space exploration done by robotics, and then frugally so, with perhaps a mission here, and a mission there, but certainly no blizzard of such activities overwhelming us, despite overwhelming technology becoming available? By the way, the US promise of getting man to Mars by 2030 may be just that, mostly only a Bush promise.
Republic of South Africa Annual military budget: $3.69 billion (2005 estimate) What they’re spending on: Weapons and military readiness.
Why it matters: Regional stability. As befits sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy, South Africa wants to be the military powerhouse of the region. However, a 2002 report revealed that only 3,000 of the country’s 76,000 active-duty soldiers could be deployed for combat operations due to inadequate equipment and the fact that as many as 60 percent of the country’s soldiers could be infected with HIV.