These fears may apply to the distant future, but history shows us that the intentions of the rulers of men are suspect.
China has just reopened the space race. In landing a lunar rover on the far side of the moon, this latecomer to space exploration has announced its intent to be a major player. There were fascinating developments in space around the New Year. America’s New Horizons craft flew across all known distances to aim its cameras at space rock four billion miles away, offering scientists a chance to look at and study the ancient building block of planets, and India said it would send astronauts into space by 2021.
Americans may have laid eyes on the far side of the moon five decades ago, but China’s initiative through its Chang’e4 offers enormous scope to assess the cosmos’ deeper reaches free of electromagnetic interference from Earth.
Isro’s chairman has said India would exploit the moon’s resources, particularly waste-free nuclear energy, estimated at trillions of dollars. The helium-3 isotope, abundant on the moon, could in theory meet global energy requirements for around 250 years.
What the new focus on Earth’s natural satellite means is the race for such resources is on.
The downside is that all space technology has dual civilian-military uses, and global space security demands that no country should try to manoeuvre itself into a position from which it can dominate or threaten the Earth from space.
These fears may apply to the distant future, but history shows us that the intentions of the rulers of men are suspect. Such fears can be doused only by true leadership for mankind that can show the way to explore space solely for the benefit of mankind, and not its destruction.