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When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

Could China Make claims to the Moon that could trigger a new space race?

RATE THIS! +51
Posted in Science on 19th Dec, 2013 01:01 AM by AlexMuller

Glenn Harlan Reynolds (Instapundit) wrote in USA Today that he hopes China makes territorial claims to the moon to start a gold rush for space resources.

 
On Saturday, a Chinese lunar probe made the first soft landing anyone's made on the moon since 1976.
 
The Chang'e-3 probe means that China is one of only three countries -- joining the United States and the old Soviet Union -- to accomplish such a feat. The probe includes an unmanned rover named Yutu that will spend several months exploring "geological structure and surface substances and looking for natural resources.'' But will China try to claim the ground it explores? Possibly.
 
October Sky author Homer Hickam was more excited. He wondered on Twitter if China might want to make a territorial claim on the moon, noting that the area the lander is exploring may contain an abundance of Helium-3, a potentially valuable fusion energy fuel that is found only on the moon.
 
According to former astronaut/geologist Harrison Schmitt, China "has made no secret" of its interest in Helium-3. Schmitt observes, "I would assume that this mission is both a geopolitical statement and a test of some hardware and software related to mining and processing of the lunar regolith."
 
Companies can make claims and countries can withdraw from the Outer Space Treaty with one year's notice
 
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty provides that "outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means." But that's not much of a barrier.
 
First, the treaty only prohibits "national appropriation." If a Chinese company, instead of the Chinese government, were to stake a claim, it wouldn't apply. And, at any rate, China -- which didn't even join the treaty until 1983 -- can, like any other nation, withdraw at any time. All that's required under the treaty is to give a year's notice.
 

Tags: MoonspaceChinaspace explorationspace resourcesspace race

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+3
This is definitely something to think about. I think that the best solution would be to make a new very strict treaty without opt outs and to define the benefits for the countries that expand in space
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+1
I believe that China will claim land, eventually. As will the United States and others. In the meantime, all they and any other country has to do is start building bases, starting mining operations, send rovers all over the place, surveying, etc. and claim its scientific. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
Signing the Outer Space Treaty was perhaps the biggest mistake we ever made. If competition had been allowed to continue we would have accomplished a lot more with our space program than we have been in the past few decades.

2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
I do not expect that China will now claim the moon as Chinese territory, as it has been referenced in Chinese literature since ancient times.....
However, you never know
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
They could start moving Chinese people to moon en mass Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
Perhaps we could be better off with no Moon race or space exploration, just with a commitment to ensure the highest standard of living for people here on Earth. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+3
If the Chinese ambitions mean the start of a new peaceful space race, preferably even collaboration, I will only be happy about it.

4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+1
Interest in Moon is getting more intense and it is clear that we expect that will help our life on Earth - China is doing great
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
Interestingly, this comes just over a decade after China first sent an astronaut into space. Nice way to continue Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
One top Chinese scientist has told the BBCrecently that the Moon could be a "beautiful" source of minerals and energy-exotic materials including helium-3 and the potential for solar power could prove invaluable for humankind
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+1
The Outer Space Treaty quite rightly prohibits national governments from claiming territory in space. No country should be permitted to extend their territorial borders into outer space. Space should be under the exclusive authority of the United Nations, with any private citizen or company provided equal commercial or residential access to space. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
I believe that any Chinese company is covered by "National appropriation". This means that a private person or a company is not detached from international regime of law, but is part of it. A state issues a law, that citizens abide.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-19
+0
I can't see any reason why the moon won't get devided up between powerful terrestrial nations and parts of it sold to anyone with enough cash or influence. Space treaty or no.
 Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-07-30
+0
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