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Competition to extract resources from the moon and other planets: The United States and China face off

رقابت برای استخراج منابع ماه و سیارات دیگر: آمریکا و چین مقابل هم قرار می‌گیرند

Reacting to the Russia-Ukraine war, the US president said that a new order was emerging in the world and that the country should move ahead of its rivals. However, this competition has started not only on the ground but also in space, and it seems that China And United States In the field of extraction from Mineral resources of the moon They will enter into a breathtaking competition with each other, which will bring in billions of dollars.

Just like during the Sputnik and Apollo competitions, world leaders are once again trying to assert their dominance in space. But this time there is an important difference. Half a century ago, America and Soviet Union They were able to enact fundamental laws at the United Nations, but this time it seems that the world’s superpowers even over Basic principles They do not agree with each other.

The lack of cooperation between the United States and China in space exploration at a time when space is busier than ever seems dangerous. Billionaires like Ilan Mask And Jeff Bezos Alongside developing countries like Rwanda And Philippines More and more satellites are being launched each month to make the most of this new market.

Battle over the resources of the moon and other planets

Threats have intensified in the US-China debate, as the two sides stand in the way of each other Economical And differences Ideological In view of the epidemic, political differences, and more recently in the case of the Russian war, are fueling these differences. Failure to cooperate in space not only poses a risk of an arms race, but can also lead to extraction conflicts. Hundreds of billions of dollars Mineral resources on the moon and other planets.

“Our concern in the West is more about who rules the road, especially in Access to resources Will determine. The biggest risk is having two sets with opposite rules. “A Chinese company may claim ownership of a lunar region with a lot of resources in the 2030s, similar to how it treats the entire South China Sea.”

Geopolitical space Formerly an arena for competition and cooperation, it is now a reflection of the rivalry on the ground between the United States and its allies Russia and China. And as Beijing and Moscow accuse US military allies in Europe and Asia of escalating tensions over Ukraine and Taiwan, the Chinese media believe the United States is launching a Space NATO Is.

The main conflict is over the Treaty of Artemis

Artemis Pact

At the center of this conflict Artemis Pact There is a draft that the United States has prepared. The Artemis Treaty is an unsecured contract that sets out a set of rules for operations on the Moon, Mars, and other planets. This is a program that NASA complies with 1967 Overseas Treaty He knows that it forms the basis of the organization’s efforts to send astronauts to the moon and to begin mineral extraction activities on the moon.

So far, 19 countries have acceded to the agreement. Romania, Colombia, Bahrain and Singapore signed the agreement after Putin’s attack on Ukraine. Ukraine was one of the first countries to sign the Artemis Treaty in late 2020. This agreement is part of the effort Joe Biden’s government To explain a set of comprehensive principles for activity in space.

“As we move forward, we remain focused on developing new route rules to ensure that all space activities are carried out responsibly, peacefully and consistently,” said First Vice President Harris Harris. The United States is committed to that Pioneer “This is a path and a model for others.”

On the other hand, China and Russia have led the opposition to the treaty. «Vladimir Putin»In a meeting with«JinpingIn February, the Chinese president announced broader space partnerships in the form of unrestricted cooperation. “The leaders of the two countries are promoting an alternative project to work on the moon, which will enable cooperation for all countries and revolve around”International Moon Research Station” spins.

Putin and the object

One of China’s main problems with the Artemis Treaty is that it allows countries to designate areas on the moon as “Safe areas»Specify. Accordingly, other countries should refrain from entering these areas. Through this clause, the United States and its allies want to be subject to the Overseas Treaty, which states that countries must not engage in dangerous interference in space.

However, for China, defining safe areas is kind of Handgun To the background of the moon and contrary to international law. Beijing wants any kind of legislation in this area United Nations It can be done because it can count on the support of a larger group of countries.

In January, China Daily wrote an article criticizing NASA for developing safe havens that allow countries and companies to take control of certain areas and resources of the moon. “It’s time for America to wake up,” the newspaper wrote. “The world is no longer interested in its divisive hegemony.”

Why is China pessimistic about US space activities?

International Space Station

China has good reason to be skeptical of US space efforts. In 2011 a law was passed in the United States that barred interaction NASA He was with his Chinese counterpart. It also cooperates with China International Space Station He forbade it, and this led Beijing to build its own station.

“China has been pushed out of the system and is now on its way,” said Lincoln Haynes, an assistant professor at the American Air Force College University who studied China’s space program. The question that arises is that when there are two different views on the space system and no cooperation is formed, can a set of Correlated rules “Whether it was achieved beyond the atmosphere or not.”

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian Space Agency Roscasmus In late April, it said it had decided to leave the International Space Station due to Western sanctions. Although Moscow’s space program had declined even before the start of the Ukraine war, China was rapidly moving in the direction of Xi Jinping’s goals to compete with the United States in space. In 2019, this country became the first country to The distant half of the moon The probe was sent, and last year it became the second country to land after the United States Mars It comes down.

China March 10 rocket «Long MarchLaunched from an island in southern Hainan province to the space stationTiangong»Cargo delivery. Construction of the station is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, making China the only country to have its own space station. Xi Jinping had recently ordered a Space Launch Center To be built in Hainan Province.

Will China become a space power?

China Space Rocket

Beijing’s first man said in January about the country’s space program: “Exploring the cosmos, developing the space industry and turning China into a space power is our eternal dream.” Yeh Pijian, chief designer of China’s first lunar probe, told the media at the same time that they 2025 They go to the moon on a robotic mission and can possibly last for years 2030 Bring your first astronaut to this planet.

“China desperately wants to be as good as NASA Future to be recognized. “It wants to be such a leader in space, and it thinks the Chinese era has come.”

With the US, China and other countries targeting the moon, the need for new legislation to prevent conflict is more urgent than ever. NASA launches launch tests in April Artemis 1 Did. The mission sends the first American spacecraft to the moon after Apollo 17 in 1972. Although Artemis 1 absolutely robotic It will be, but NASA wants around the year 2025 Open the astronauts’ feet to the moon again, this time sending a woman to Earth for the first time. This organization continues on the surface of the moon Base Will make.

SpaceX Ilan Mask new rocket in the coming months Starship Will test from Texas to prepare for sending humans to the moon and Mars. Japan and South Korea, which are signatories to the Artemis Treaty, also have their own missions for the moon. Even India It has also prepared special plans for space activities, but has not yet joined any of these dual powers. Vladimir Putin last month promised Russia’s plan for the moon’s activities Resuscitation will do.

A new space race is on its way

Chinese astronaut

NASA President Bill Nelson warned of growing US-China space tensions at a congressional hearing a few days ago. He said: “[چین] It now has a space station and advanced technology. They have announced that they want to go to the moon. And I think similar to the space race that with Soviet Union We had, in the future with the Chinese government one Space Race will have.”

Unlike Earth, the Moon’s resources can probably be large Helium-3 Have. This isotope will probably be used as a substitute for uranium in nuclear power plants because it is not radioactive. Chinese state media in 2019 had said sometimes the moon under the headline Persian Gulf Solar System Be remembered. Because experts believe that 5,000 tons of coal can be exchanged for about three tablespoons of helium-3.

Although there is still no conclusive evidence that helium-3 has strange abilities, Chinese researchers have already begun searching for the isotope in rocks returned from the moon in late 2020. Earth’s moon can also be a valuable resource for Water And provide the fuel needed for missions to Mars and other parts of the solar system.

It now appears that the United States is drawing the attention of countries to its own interpretation of space law. More successful have been. With the addition of Artemis signatories over time, China is still waiting for a leader other than Putin to work with it on the development of the International Moon Research Station.

A dilemma called the Ukraine war

Chinese state media reported in March that talks were soon under way to persuade the space agency Europe، Thailand، United Arab Emirates And Saudi Arabia Will do to bring them with him. However, the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to discourage many countries from cooperating in the project.

America China Russia

The European Space Agency announced on March 17 that it had suspended plans to send a Russian-made lander to Mars in September or October. British company OneWeb It has previously announced that it will cancel sending satellites into low-Earth orbit with Russian rockets. “Effect [این جنگ] On the Russian space program Disastrous will be.”

Although China does not need Russian expertise in space activities, but according to strategy Long-term Xi Jinping It seems unlikely that Beijing will leave Moscow to the satisfaction of other countries. Senior Russian space officials have said some time ago that they are ready for greater cooperation with China.

“We have good co-operation with our Chinese friends,” President Roscosmos said in an April 4 interview with Chinese state media. To establish friendly relationships “In space, we must be friends on earth.” This rule also seems to apply to hostilities.

In the absence of common rules in space, the United States and China have accused each other of negligence in recent months over two incidents. Beijing claimed that SpaceX satellites They are dangerously close to the country’s space station. It formally criticized the United Nations, but the United States said China’s remarks were exaggerated. This reaction made the Chinese times even more bitter, and they claimed that the United States did not have the necessary correspondence to talk about this issue and did not act responsibly. On the other hand, last year 21 ton Chinese rocket It entered the Earth’s atmosphere uncontrollably and drew criticism from the West.

Jiska West, lead researcher on the Space Security Index project, says China’s big problem with the Artemis Pact is that the process Decision making It has been set aside, and now the West says they have to accept conditions that were not set by the United Nations but by the United States. The controversy over who sets these rules shows that the world still has a long way to go to prevent a conflict in space. “I doubt people were ready for this amount of space activity,” says West. “We were not prepared enough for this situation.”

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