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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Could Chinese Moon Exploration Touch Off a New Cold War?

I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm's been a hectic...year...

Recently, the Chinese have sent out some awesome images from their lunar probe, and spoken enthusiastic about further missions in 2013 and beyond - including manned missions in our lifetimes!

As exciting this is from the Geek point of view, though, it raises some troubling questions.

The exploration and exploitation of the resources on the Moon was unimagined when the US went there. They collected rocks and dirt, drove around, played golf, planted the American flag…it was a pissing match with the Soviets, nothing more.

China, with its near absolute control of industry and science and remorseless determinism of the Chinese Communist system of government can devote whatever resources it wishes to the exploitation of the Moon’s stores, including water ice and untold mineral wealth.

The Moon’s a logical jumping off point to Mars and the potentially mineral-rich asteroid field. Whether you believe in the romantic notions of deep space exploration or not, the questions you should ask yourself are these:

Who do you want to see reach the stars first? Communist Chinese imperialists or an international coalition of American, British, European and Asian space explorers?

Who should have the best access to the riches and knowledge to be found in the solar system – and beyond?

If there is life out there, who should represent Mankind when and if we encounter them?