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article imageOp-Ed: Will lunar mining start wars on Earth — The new conflicts

By Paul Wallis     Jan 3, 2021 in Science
Sydney - As though global tantrums weren’t already enough fun, a new world is opening up as a new venue for conflicts. Mining the Moon is likely to happen very soon, and it’s bringing big money with it.
As the great global minds get smaller, human progress is turning into a race to disasters. The bright and fabulous future is now sitting on some drab spreadsheets somewhere.
Moon mining, however, is a very real thing. There are things worth mining on the Moon, not least of which is the near-mythical Helium 3, the compound which could power Earth for centuries using fusion reactors, according to some. It does produce net power, but how efficiently is the question.
The whole Moon is a target. Specific areas, notably the south lunar pole, are believed to be rich in some resources. Lunar resources are scattered, meaning the whole place may soon be covered in exploration missions.
Political ramifications
Geopolitics is about to go off-world, and the likely result will be messy at best. Space is supposed to be “for humanity”, but with a caveat; The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says, according to Moon Daily "…the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind." That’s enough legal maneuver space for anyone.
China is heading to the Moon in a very unambiguous way. They’re definitely trying to set up shop on the Moon with a range of scientific and commercial goals. This means that power politics, and in fairness, some economic common sense will follow. The China/United states clashes are common enough on Earth; why not elsewhere. The Russian Federation and the EU are also on their way.
In the present politically twisted and convoluted “menage a anybody”, these are all combinations of extended conflicts. A hot war may or may not be a possibility, but the chances of an extended lukewarm war are good. Given that any future treaties are likely to become the basis of more conflict, it’s not looking good.
One issue raised by this mess is the likely duplication of effort. That could be good or bad. The fact of multiple forms of access to the Moon could help get people out of trouble. It could also cause a lot of trouble, like the China-India clash in the Himalayas recently.
“Diplomacy by other means” rarely means anything good.
If anti-globalization has proved anything, and it hasn’t, so far –
• The smaller the minds, the bigger the problems.
• Clashes are often engineered for short-term political gains.
• The conflicts are out of all proportion to the value of the issues.
Don’t hold your breath expecting any sanity when it comes to the Moon. This is going to be a long haul before anything gets simple and easy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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