With India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 on its way to the moon’s south pole, and the U.S., Russia and China having done the same, the new space race could fuel conflict for the stars the moon.
Billionaires and global businesses are planning to exploit the space for commercial profit. And one of them is SpaceX’s Elon Musk. The Time described SpaceX as one of the handful of powerful players competing in a race to set up shop on the moon. Previously, it was just the U.S. and the Soviet Union to get onto the lunar surface. This time, U.S. finds itself facing countries, most critically China, and private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin.
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When China successfully launched and touched Chang’e-4 on the far side of the moon, the spacecraft’s chief designer Wu Weiren said they are now building China into a space giant. Ye Peijian, the leader of China’s lunar program said “the universe is an ocean, the moon is the Diaoyu Islands, Mars is Huangyan Island. If we don’t go there now, even though we are capable of doing so, then we will be blamed by our descendants.”
Besides rivalry, the new space race is a cocktail of economic, technological and geopolitical imperatives. Experts say a fortune can be made from lunar ventures. Likewise, the Japanese lunar exploration startup, ispace inc. believes that in the next 20-years, there will be 1,000 people living and working on the moon with 10,000 annual visitors. The company’s spokesman Aaron Sorenson said their vision is to extend human presence into outerspace. “We believe that begins with the expansion of the earth’s economy to the moon,” he said.
Space hotels, celestial advertising billboards, cosmic smart TVs, and in-space manufacturing are not far. According to Morgan Stanley, space-based businesses contribute $350 billion to global gross domestic product, which is projected to leap to a whopping $1.4 trillion by 2040.
But then, there are concerns that lack of laws and potential conflict over resources could reach up to the cosmos.