Mining on the Moon
A new space race is underway and it does not seem that it will be subject to the same rules that prevailed earlier, that is, between the Soviet Union and the United States. If international prestige and scientific development in the twentieth century were the rabbits behind which the great powers ran, then this time the prize is more realistic: space mining. The United States is aware of this and therefore hastened to offer its proposal to set the rules of the game: Theses of Artemis (or Artemis).
What are the agreements of Artemis and who signed them.
Artemis conventions are somewhat related to Artemis software, but it’s important not to confuse them. The second is the program developed by NASA to bring humans to the moon for the first time since the 1970s. While the Artemis Accords is an international treaty proposed by the United States at the end of 2020 and signed by 20 countries, most recently Colombia, A little over a week ago.
These agreements were drafted and proposed by the United States. Among the signatories so far are four countries from the European Union: Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania. Other European countries, such as Ukraine and the United Kingdom, have also signed in just over a year and a half since the agreement entered into force.
According to the US special NASA, the text shares the principles of Treaty on the Exploration and Use of Outer Space 1967. However, these agreements have generated significant controversy and the degree of their adoption is very limited. Everything seems to indicate that the new space race will be less friendly than the one carried out by the Soviet and American blocs in their day.
Who did not sign and why.
The 19 signatories aren’t many, barely 10% of the UN’s 193 members, but the most notable absence is China, whose space agency, CNSA, hopes NASA will lead in this space race.
The Asian giant was against these agreements, and Strengthen your opposition In reference to respect Agreement that should govern the activities of nations on the moon and other celestial bodies from 1979. American proposal It provides for the establishment of “safe areas”, which are areas to which access is limited in order to protect the activities carried out in that area from interference or, in the words of the treaty, some “harmful impediment”.
The treaty considers that these areas will have a temporary nature limited to the duration of the activity taking place in them. China considers this a form of occupation incompatible with the framework of international law. Sino-US cooperation faces an additional hurdle, which is that the US federal government has strict limits on permitted interactions between NASA and CNSA.
Asian power is precisely its promoter other international agreement With the aim of exploring the Moon, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). The Chinese lunar program is moving quickly and includes the construction of this lunar station. Its creation comes from a bilateral agreement with Russia at the present time. “For now” because it is an agreement that is open to other parties. from Beijing They claim to be negotiating with several agenciesincluding the European Space Agency. However, the current geopolitics is not encouraging.
Another notable absence from the Agreements of Artemis is the absence of India. India is currently one of the most powerful space powers, but it has not yet joined any of the proposed treaties, neither Artemis nor the ILRS.
There is a lot of disagreement.
The situation is complicated, but the battle now is to see who or who determines the rules of the game. At least that’s what Malcolm Davis thinks Data collected by Bloomberg. The US authorities have taken the first step, but a new international agreement seems out of reach. One reason in particular is the extent of the risk.
Mining on the Moon.
Space mining has attracted the attention of many agents, both public and private, who seek to make space exploration profitable. Asteroids are often the subject of this interest, but the Moon may contain a very valuable resource: helium 3.
Helium-3 is an isotope of helium (its nucleus contains two protons and one neutron), and it is extremely rare among helium naturally found on Earth. This isotope has been proposed as an alternative fuel source for uranium-235 that powers nuclear reactors. Helium is not radioactive, so it would be a viable energy source if it proved effective and efficient at work.
Moon water is also a precious resource, although it is only an intermediate good that is needed to carry out operations without the need to transport liquid from Earth. This and other materials can use On the same satellite or to set up flights to distant places.
More and more actors are in the “mix”.
When the rules of the game are ambiguous, the games in a row end, and this Space Monopoly game looks challenging. Even more than that, because the other factor that requires cooperation is the number of participants. The space race of the 20th century had two, and the future anticipates a true tangle of agents, with more countries participating and the arrival of private companies.
In addition to the previously mentioned agencies, countries such as Japan and South Korea also have their own satellite exploration projects. SpaceX is one of the agents already involved in lunar exploration, but NASA does not block the way for other projects. Whatever the case, the new space race will be more complex and competitive. One can only hope that this space race will be more civil than a family game night.
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