Kea in Hawaii with a British infrared telescope and several American projects. Construction of a Japanese observatory on Mauna Kea is expected to begin in the next decade. Other success stories include NASA's IRAS satellite, a joint U.S., U.K., and Netherlands enterprise; an American spectrometer launched by a Japanese rocket to study cosmic radio waves; an American instrument on the Soviet Vega spacecraft that flew past Comet Halley; and a worldwide network of telescopes to study seismic oscillations of the sun. Scientists in the United States and the USSR will work together on a Soviet orbiting telescope for very long baseline interferometry called RadioAstron. This program builds on a history of collaboration between Soviet and American radio astronomers that survived the most difficult periods of the Cold War.
Civilization reaps the benefits of astronomy as an international enterprise. The first images from space showing the earth as a planet displayed the fragility of our planet and emphasized the need for worldwide cooperation in studying the earth and the universe it inhabits.