China managed to land a lunar spacecraft on the far side of the Moon and deploy the Yutu-2 rover to explore that part of the Earth’s natural satellite. Undoubtedly, the feat achieved by China is groundbreaking, and it comes in a period when Elon Musk’s SpaceX posts images with its rockets and NASA plans the first crewed mission to Mars. China, as we already know, is a more efficient nation than others, so they are looking to obtain something from every achievement they accomplish. Why would the things with Chang’e-4 mission be different? Accordingly, China might be scouting for inter-planetary fuel on the dark side of the Moon.
Some scientists agree with the idea that China is following a long-term goal on the dark side of the Moon. However, others, while applauding the Chinese space agency’s breakthrough, said that the short-term opportunities to mine the Earth’s natural satellite are minimal.
“China thinks in decades. The U.S. thinks in presidential terms,” said Clive Neal, a lunar expert at the University of Notre Dame.
China Might Be Scouting For Inter-Planetary Fuel On The Dark Side Of The Moon
On the long-term, China might have set a clear goal – to mine the dark side of the Moon for inter-planetary fuel. The primary material on the Moon is helium-3 which for now is too costly to send back to Earth. According to the most recent hypothesis, helium-3, a non-radioactive isotope, can be turned into fuel for the next generations of spacecraft that would fly towards the deep space.
“Imagine driving from NYC to LA without gas stations along the way. If you can get the fuel from space, it reduces the cost,” added Peter Diamandis, the founder of the XPrize to encourage private spaceships.
“Some people in the US are saying, ‘We want to get humans back there before China,’ Other people are saying we’ve already run that race, and America needs to be careful of rushing up alleys. Elon Musk senses there could be government money involved and commercial opportunity. I can see people going to the Moon on a two-week holiday, but not to spend two years on Mars,” said David Todd, Seradata CEO.
In short, China might want the lead the mining operations for inter-planetary fuel on the dark side of the Moon, and the country might be on the right track for achieving that.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.