Space ambassador and “private astronaut trainer” Nancy Vermeulen told Business AM Radio that China and the United States are engaged in a new space adventure.
Why is this important?In recent years, China has rapidly developed a space program. In the coming decades, the country may even overtake the United States, which is currently by far the leader in the race.
News: China and the United States plan to stay “permanently” on the moon and build stations there to exploit the resources, according to Vermeulen.
- “Whoever has supremacy in space also has supremacy on Earth. All the orbits of the satellites between the Earth and the Moon are very interesting to control. Indeed, in any war, it would then be easy to neutralize the adversary’s communication and navigation equipment, explains the specialist.
- But the military-strategic angle is not the only one. After all, the Moon is also home to a number of resources, such as rare earth metals and helium-3.
- Rare earth metals are used, among other things, to make batteries for electric cars. Helium-3, meanwhile, could be used as fuel for future nuclear fusion power plants.
- “Water on the moon is also very important,” continues Nancy Vermeulen. The latter could be converted on site into rocket fuel, hydrogen and oxygen, in order to “continue the journey to asteroids or Mars”. Large amounts of resources are also on these asteroids, while China and the United States ultimately want to make a manned landing on the red planet.
Can China Conquer the Moon?
To note : Although NASA chief Bill Nelson recently warned that China could claim the Moon, the ambassador says it won’t be so easily achievable.
- “There is a treaty written in 1967, the Outer Space Treaty, which states that no nation can claim the Moon. Mr. Nelson’s statements are pure nonsense, say people in the Chinese space industry.
- Nevertheless, the first country that can build a base on the Moon (and its allies) will have an advantage over the competition. Very clever who can say which of the United States or China will be this first country.
- “They don’t show their cards very well, but things are moving very quickly in China,” says Vermeulen. After being barred from the International Space Station (ISS), for example, China built its own station, Tiangong (Heavenly Palace).
- In recent years, China has also been able to land rovers on the Moon and even one on Mars. Soon, the country will also send the Xuntian (Space Observer), a space telescope similar to Hubble, into space. However, the Xuntian will have a much wider field of vision.
Progress of the United States
The situation: The United States, meanwhile, has already carried out a first test flight of the launcher which should send astronauts to the Moon in a few years, the Space Launch System (SLS).
- This rocket will not be used for a manned mission to the celestial body – the Artemis III mission – until 2025 at the earliest. It will be followed by several other manned missions from Artemis to the surface.
- The United States, along with its allies, will also build a space station in orbit around the moon, the Lunar Gateway. It will be a stopover for the astronauts before they continue their journey with a lunar lander from SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company.
- Eventually, the Artemis missions should facilitate the construction of a moon base. China also wants to build a manned station on the celestial body in the 2030s.