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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

US-China Space Wars & Moon-Mining

• by Antonio Graceffo

"You could have a Chinese company on the moon in the 2030s claiming territory with a resource on it in the same way the Chinese have claimed the entire South China Sea," warned Malcolm Davis, a space policy researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report released on May 17.

In "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Buck Rogers," "Flash Gordon," and other science-fiction movies, space weapons are laser cannons, ion guns, blasters, and phasers that shoot impressive rays of light energy and blow up whatever they hit.

However, the reality of space wars is "low-moving rendezvous robot satellites, ground-based electronic jammers, and cyber weapons and lasers designed to disable satellites without producing space debris," according to a January 2022 report by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Unlike the movies, much of the threat in space will come from the ground through terrestrial control centers issuing orders to space-based assets. It will probably not entail battles between government spacecraft, but utility hardware, owned and operated by private companies with peaceful missions. A debris-clearing satellite, the property of a company in Palo Alto or Shenzhen, might be commanded from Earth to damage, defuel, or disrupt the trajectory or operation of a satellite from another country. Rather than firing an ion cannon, a Chinese space asset could disable a U.S. or Japanese satellite, making it difficult for allied militaries on Earth to navigate or fire effectively. And the defense against these attacks would be to use "bodyguard" satellites to push the offenders away gently.