Thursday, February 15

Hu the moon

Why, the People's Daily asks, is China determined to go to the moon when it has economic, social and environmental problems to resolve? Partly it's for the same reason that the United States was so eager to beat the Soviets to the moon -- for bragging rights. Or, as China's chief space scientist, Ouyang Ziyuan, puts it, "increasing China's international prestige and the cohesive power of the Chinese nation.

It's not all about ego, though. China is determined to make sure that the United States doesn't monopolize the military use of outer space. China believes there might be treasures buried under that gray, powdery surface -- and it doesn't all belong to the United States by default.

"Furthermore, mineral deposits, energy resources and environment on the moon constitute a crucial sphere for the humankind and, if China fails to make any inquires into this sphere, the country accordingly will not have any right to speak about in this regard," the People's Daily says.

The newspaper says that China might be able to build solar panels on the moon to supply the earth with electricity. No specifics on how the energy would be transferred. And heavy helium, which could be used in fusion power plants, is in abundance on the moon.

And then China mentions the m-word. "With a very special space environmental resource on the moon, and high-precision and low-cost astronomical observation posts and research bases to be built in this environment, the moon can be the top height for environment monitoring with vital military importance."


Stay tuned. Americans might be going to the moon soon too.