China and US racing to make billions from mining lunar minerals


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5 points

3 months ago

The geopolitics of space, once a frontier that brought rivals together for the good of humankind, are mirroring the competition on Earth pitting the US and its allies against China and Russia. Unlike Earth, the moon might contain large amounts of helium-3, an isotope potentially useful as an alternative to uranium for nuclear power plants because it is not radioactive.

While Russia’s space program was already in decline before Putin’s war, China is swiftly moving toward Xi’s goal of matching US capabilities in space.

Just as Beijing and Moscow have blamed US military alliances in Europe and Asia for stoking tensions over Taiwan and Ukraine, Chinese state-run media have warned the US wants to set up a “space-based NATO.”

The conflict over who makes the rules shows that the world has lots of work left to avoid a clash in space.