Saturday, February 09, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, January 17 2008] Korea's 1st Astronaut to Mix Korean Soil in Space

Korea's first astronaut will bring soil from each side of the divided Korean peninsula on his journey into space. Ko San made the remarks in a televised news conference with Reuters on Tuesday.

"We still think this is one country. So I'm going to bring the soil of North and South (Korea). I'm going to mix them up in space," he said.

The 31-year-old scientist will leave Earth in April aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket and spend 10 days conducting experiments at the International Space Station.

"Our government has long-term plans for the space program," Ko said in the news conference. "We don't know if we can send another astronaut or not, but we will continue our experiments. We have plans for moon exploration. I and (backup Yi So-yeon) are going to work in that field after this."

The Ministry of Science and Technology said Wednesday that Ko will use equipment developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in his experiments at the International Space Station.

Japan and Korea will sign a declaration agreeing to cooperate in space exploration in Seoul on Thursday. Korea will use JAXA's portable device for measuring space radiation and an HDTV camera for Ko's space experiments.

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