Read about Africa's foray into space and more in this week's roundup.
New Zealand, seen as the nation of cows, could soon become the nation with the highest frequency of space launches anywhere in the world. A relatively uncongested airspace and an appetite for new technologies, meant Airways had already helped about 120 near-space launches in New Zealand airspace, and Nasa and Google had both chosen the country for balloon launches.
The United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced an agreement Sunday that would allow the two nations to collaborate on matters of space and aeronautics research, including the potential journey to Mars. [...] The two countries also announced that they would collaborate on education and public outreach.
"Yours will be a future where human beings, as President Obama has said, have pushed farther into the universe, not just to visit but also to stay. To me, public diplomacy and cooperation in space go together like peanut butter and jelly," Bolden said.
Making the case for an economic return on investment in science can be difficult, but space exploration drives innovative thought and pushes the government and industry to develop new technologies, many of which ultimately find their way into the consumer market, according to a comprehensive study of the US space program by the National Research Council. And continued US leadership in space is a useful demonstration of soft power, the NRC found.