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Why there is a new global race to the moon

by SuperiorInvest

Japan recently became the fifth nation to successfully complete a soft landing on the surface of the moon, joining a select few countries (the United States, Russia, China and India) in achieving this feat. But moon landings are likely to become more common in the coming years. Globally, more than 100 lunar missions are expected to be carried out by 2030, both by private companies and governments, according to the European Space Agency.

So why are all these countries eager to get back to the moon?

“The Moon is a testing ground,” said Michelle Hanlon, executive director of the Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi. “Humanity needs to get to the moon to learn how to live in space, to learn how to use the resources of space. And that is really the springboard to all the vast riches of the universe.”

Some of the riches these countries and companies seek include rare earth metals and the isotope helium-3, which, while rare on Earth, is abundant on the Moon and can theoretically be used to power nuclear fusion reactors.

“We haven’t figured out how to do it yet. There are a lot of theories about it. But, once we figure it out, helium-3 on the Moon could seriously power the Earth, the entire Earth, for centuries,” Hanlon said.

And then there is the presence of another vital natural resource that countries seek: water. In addition to being crucial to human survival, water can be used to produce rocket fuel, meaning the Moon could one day become a rocket refueling station and a springboard for deeper space exploration.

“Whoever manages to establish a significant lunar presence is making a statement about their political system, about their economic system, about who is ahead in the geopolitical competition,” said Dean Cheng, senior adviser for the China program at the United States Institute of Peace. Joined. . “But a second, newer part of this is the belief that there are important resources on the Moon that are useful for Earth or for future spaceflight.”

To learn more about the new moon race and why the United States and China are currently the leaders, watch the video.

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