China to Mine Moon for 'Benefit of Humanity'.
May 20, 2002 4:50 PM   Subscribe

China to Mine Moon for 'Benefit of Humanity'. China says it is planning to establish a base on the Moon to exploit its mineral resources. Beijing has not yet put a human into space, but scientists say they expect to do so within three years and they have outlined an ambitious programme for the future. Chinese space official Ouyang Ziyuan said: "Our long-term goal is to set up a base on the moon and mine its riches for the benefit of humanity."
posted by ncurley (35 comments total)
Whoa ... the Moon is a harsh mistress...
posted by redshifter at 4:54 PM on May 20, 2002

Good, maybe we'll have another space race on our hands.
Nothing gets the U.S. going like another country trying to make them look like slackers. (and a communist one at that)
posted by Dillenger69 at 4:57 PM on May 20, 2002

give them commies a moon, they'll take a solar system. ain't you heerd o' the domino effect?
posted by quonsar at 5:01 PM on May 20, 2002

Monkeys to Fly Out of My Butt for 'Benefit of Humanity'.
posted by Ty Webb at 5:18 PM on May 20, 2002

Don't they know any history? The last country to engage us in technological races both militarily and otherwise is currently the butt of every international joke told by US diplomats.

Them China-folk need to step down.
posted by rocketman at 5:24 PM on May 20, 2002

It's a PR stunt -- but so was apollo. More power to 'em, if they actually pull it off. The US sure seems to have abandoned the idea.
posted by ook at 5:39 PM on May 20, 2002

What? Did they run out of places to violate human rights?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:44 PM on May 20, 2002

Kind of pathetic that the best they could come up with is to mine stuff. By the way, what happens to the Earth's Orbit (and the moon's) when you start mining stuff? Martin Landau, where are you?!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:18 PM on May 20, 2002

I'm reminded of two things: Red Mars, and
posted by kahboom at 6:28 PM on May 20, 2002

1) I wish they would provide info on what they are mining. Is it 3HE? *shudders*

2) Secondly and more importantly, does this mean the Chinese will dig up the monolith first?
posted by vacapinta at 6:33 PM on May 20, 2002

I'm all for a moon base. That is wicket cool, but is there anything on the moon worth mining?

China already has like 7% of the earth's land mass. Maybe they look in their own backyard to see if there's anything worth mining there before flying 380,000 kilometers to dig for some really expensive rocks.
posted by willnot at 6:38 PM on May 20, 2002

If China decided to go bring home Helium-3, it would be wonderful. Do you realize how much affect a conversion of their power systems to 3He would have on air polution? The reduction in lung cancer deaths alone would be staggering. I hope and pray that is what they are going there to do, and I hope they succeed.
posted by Ptrin at 7:06 PM on May 20, 2002

From vacapinta's link:
The Moon could theoretically provide indefinite supplies of 3He for use as a fuel to produce environmentally acceptable and highly efficient fusion electrical power on Earth
Not so. Assuming constant power usage, the Moon only has enough to last us for another six hundred years or so. If you want indefinite supply, it's time to start mining Saturn. (Why not Jupiter? Too much gravity.)
But it sure would make a good start.
posted by darukaru at 7:17 PM on May 20, 2002

The question is, of course, how advanced is China's fusion research program?
posted by darukaru at 7:21 PM on May 20, 2002

That's no moon!
posted by ODiV at 7:29 PM on May 20, 2002

darukaru: The question is, of course, how advanced is China's fusion research program?

BBC Article: But China's space industry suffered a series of setbacks in the mid-90s. A Long March 2E rocket carrying a telecommunications satellite exploded after blast-off in January 1995, killing a family of six.

Hopefully, better than their space program. One wonders what a family of six was doing in a telecommunications satelite?
posted by hob at 7:43 PM on May 20, 2002

The family of six was on the ground. The Chinese aren't that big on range safety, so they didn't blow up the rocket when it went off-course and landed on their house. People suspect that many more than six died, but it's hard to tell and the Chinese aren't saying.
posted by jaek at 8:15 PM on May 20, 2002

One wonders what a family of six was doing in a telecommunications satelite?

Thanks to sweatshop prices, cheaper than monkeys!
posted by Neale at 8:36 PM on May 20, 2002

It's High Time

Rockets stick
their snouts up
and aim at Mars.
It's time
high time
to sow our poison among the stars.

- Olav Hauge
posted by kv at 9:06 PM on May 20, 2002

Hopefully their moon landings won't be faked.
posted by electro at 9:17 PM on May 20, 2002 is Daneel Olivaw going to build his secret observatory now?
posted by bingo at 10:14 PM on May 20, 2002

Mine ice, harvest sunlight, nelt water, make oxygen, mine more, build more, breed, RULE.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:15 AM on May 21, 2002

Uh. Melt water.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:18 AM on May 21, 2002

well for the benefit of a fifth of humanity.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:29 AM on May 21, 2002

What could they mine on the moon?
Perhaps they hope to feed their people more cheese? :)
The man up there isn't smiling about this prospect.
posted by nofundy at 5:28 AM on May 21, 2002

Wow, nofundy, that was about as funny as implying that Africans wanted to go to the moon to mine chicken and waffles.
We've already established that there's at least a few 'minable' resources up there, and a whole lot of propaganda value.
posted by darukaru at 6:17 AM on May 21, 2002

No one should disparage disparaging remarks about a dangerous, dictatorial regime. They'll fail miserably. They're also full of PR shale about the idea.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:20 AM on May 21, 2002

I didn't even know China owned the moon. Seriously, didn't we call dibs on that thing back in the 60's?
posted by uftheory at 7:02 AM on May 21, 2002

They got away with conquering and subjugating Tibet without any significant international hassle. . .what makes anyone think that the moon will be any different?
posted by Danf at 7:24 AM on May 21, 2002

I didn't even know China owned the moon.
i'm pretty sure MTV owns the moon, don't they?
posted by quonsar at 7:30 AM on May 21, 2002

Let's trade, the moon for Tibet.
Nothing to mine in Tibet...
posted by bittennails at 8:05 AM on May 21, 2002

Nice one, redshifter...

Do any of you really think in this day and age that the US will bother competing with China for this? We'll sit back and watch them zoom past us, then have to play catch up with the asteroids.
posted by hurkle at 8:40 AM on May 21, 2002

Well, since nobody's mentioned it: since it would be easier to mine the moon if it was on the earth, will they be sending enough Chinese up there to jump on it and send it crashing down on Mongolia or the Gobi desert?
Or will they jump on the earth until it bumps into the moon, then mine it real quick-like before the earth falls back down?
posted by kablam at 8:41 AM on May 21, 2002

There's more neat stuff to mine from near Earth asteroids.
posted by euphorb at 11:14 AM on May 21, 2002

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