With China, India and Japan all launching civilian moon missions, the Christian Science Monitor examines the Asian space race, driven by what one expert calls "techno-nationalism." They "generate pride domestically and they demonstrate prowess internationally," but they're also inflaming security concerns and suspicions, as all three are wary of missile defense schemes or other military plans by their rivals.
The moon shots have no military purpose, though they do include probes for an isotope that helps nuclear fusion. The programs boost tech skills among young engineers that will have industrial benefits in all three countries. But because of the underlying military relevance of space missions and suspicions among the neighbors, cooperation will be challenging: "An Asian NASA sounds a bit far-fetched."