On top of the world
Since the launch of Russia's first Sputnik in 1957, the US-Soviet space race has involved 288 manned flights, including 12 moonwalks, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. In human terms, it has also cost 14 lives. And there are those who argue that those billions would have been better spent on feeding our own world rather than seeking new ones. But Earth's exploitation of space now looks likely to unite the former Cold War rivals, along with the 13-member European Space Agency, Japan and Canada as multinational colonisers of the Moon and Mars in years to come - global economy permitting.