Does China Want To Own The Moon?


By Irene Klotz

  • Within about 15 years, China could have a permanent presence on the moon, and be laying claim to its resources.
  • There may not be anything the United States, hobbled by debt and politically polarized, can do to stop China.

By the time U.S. astronauts return to the moon they may need permission to touch down — from China, which is laying the groundwork for a lunar land grab, says long-time space advocate and entrepreneur Robert Bigelow.

Owning the moon is the first step in a game Bigelow, founder of Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace, calls “Solar System Monopoly.”

The only flags planted into the lunar regolith by humans was done by U.S. astronauts from the Apollo Program. Will China be next? NASA (edit by Discovery News/Ian O'Neill)

“This will characterize the 21st and 22nd centuries and beyond. If we ignore this, it will be at our extreme peril,” Bigelow said at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight under way this week in Las Cruces, N.M.

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The way Bigelow sees it, China, which has no debt, cash reserves of $3 trillion, technical skills, a long-term strategy and strong national support, will lay claim to raw materials on the moon in about 15 years.

The land grab will occur despite an international treaty barring ownership of extraterrestrial bodies, concludes Bigelow, who points out that China’s growing global economic influence will make it less likely other countries will object to its lunar expansion.

“This isn’t going to start World War III,” Bigelow said.

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There’s several reasons why China might want the moon, not the least of which is its trove of mineral resources that include water and helium-3, a potential fuel for fusion energy reactors. Laying claim to the moon also would have a powerful psychological impact, displacing America’s Apollo forays and catapulting China’s international status in one fell swoop.

“Nothing else China could possibly do in the next 15 years would cause as great a benefit for China,” Bigelow said.

With the United States straddled by debt and political gridlock, Bigelow thinks the first round of the game is already lost. But there’s still time to give China a run for its money on Mars.

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“Hopefully this will produce the fear factor necessary to motivate Americans,” Bigelow said.

China, which is not a member of the International Space Station program, last month launched a test module for its own outpost in orbit. A capsule to robotically dock at the module is scheduled to be launched in November. That will be followed by human missions in 2012.

In addition to a small space station, China has announced plans for a lunar base by 2020.

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“They’re serious about what they’re doing,” said Mark Sirangelo, who oversees Sierra Nevada Corp., one of several firms working to develop commercial passenger spaceships for NASA and other users.

“Not only do they have a lot of people and a lot of money focused in on it, but they have a lot of willpower. I think that’s one of the things that we in this country are lacking a little bit right now, the willpower to do the necessary things to make us successful in space.”

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3 Responses

  1. t23 says:

    Another thing that Irene Klotz’s article conveniently failed to mention is America’s “Vision for 2020” document. This document from the US Space Command openly admits America’s ambitions to dominate and control outer space–or as the Air Force Space Command’s motto puts it, be the “Master of Space.”

    As former Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire bluntly admitted in the article below control of outer space is America’s next “Manifest Destiny” in the 21st century–similar to how American colonization and subjugation of the frontier West was the USA’s Manifest Destiny in the 19th-century.

    As the second article below put its: “For the United States, the issue goes way beyond missile defense. The U.S. military explicitly says it wants to ‘control’ space to protect its economic interests and establish superiority over the world. ”

    Too bad these issues are swept under the rug the article, but what do you expect?

    To raise these issues would force readers to ask if it’s really America that desires to possess the moon and beyond.

    U.S. Military Moves to “Control Space” and be “Enforcement Arm for the Global Economy”

    Master of Space

  2. t23 says:

    One perverse thing about America is it always projects its own predatory ambitions onto its geopolitical opponents–in this case China.

    This article is typical of this tendency. It combines contrived anti-China propaganda with a tacit attempt to whip up support for America’s aggressive space ambitions not only to “own the moon” and but also control access to outer space.

    Many countries have plans to explore and establish a presence on the moon, more so than China. This includes the USA, Europe, and India.

    If you look at America’s so-called Star Wars missile defense program, one obvious hidden agenda behind it is to militarize outer space and enable American control of “low earth orbit” region. By doing so, the USA believes it will be able to enforce a vise-like grip over access to space itself in the same way that the American Navy attempts to do on the high seas today.

    It should be mentioned that nations like China and Russia have called for an international agreement to oppose this kind of militarization of outer space. But the not-so peace-loving USA has predictably rejected it.

    Moreover, America has an openly stated military doctrine called US Full Spectrum Dominance, which calls for American domination of the not only traditional battlespheres of ground, air, and sea but also outer space itself. This is a policy that goes back years. See the URLs below.

    Another agenda behind this article is to whip up American nationalism against China and mobilize US public support (and more importantly money) for the American space program and this US Full Spectrum Dominance agenda. This is similar to how the USA seized upon the Soviet Soyuz launch to foment a similar type of competitve space race during the Cold War. The article itself tacitly admits this cyncial agenda with the quote from Bigelow above: “Hopefully this will produce the fear factor necessary to motivate Americans.”

    Bush issues doctrine for US control of space

    American Control of Outer Space in the Third Millennium

  3. m says:

    Plant a BIG Flag!
    Winner takes All..

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