North Korea is taking time out of their busy schedule of military antagonism, synchronized dance routines, and human rights abuse to explore space.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea have announced a five-year plan to launch more advanced satellites into orbit by 2020, as well as an unmanned mission to the Moon, all under the command of supreme leader Kim Jong Un.
“We are planning to develop the Earth observation satellites and to solve communications problems by developing geostationary satellites. All of this work will be the basis for the flight to the moon,” Hyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration, told the Associated Press (AP).
To date, the US is still the only country to have placed a man on the Moon. There have also been unmanned lunar missions carried out by the Soviet Union, European Space Agency, Japan, India, and China.
In terms of North Korea’s technological power, these plans are ambitious. However, experts are saying that it’s far from impossible.
The totalitarian east Asian state currently has two satellites in orbit. The first was launched in 2012. In February, North Korea launched another satellite, the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Brilliant Star 4.
As astrophysicist and satellite expert Jonathan McDowell told AP, considering the rate of progress between the first satellite launches of both the US and USSR and their moon missions, it’s not crazy to suggest that North Korea could do the same in a short window of time. Despite the economic sanctions that have piled up against them, the hermit kingdom is as brazenly confident as ever.
Hyon Kwang-il added: “Even though the US and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space.”