Sunday, January 18, 2015

H3: The Chinese Lunar Takeaway

The Chinese see things long-term.
And I mean REALLY looooooooooooong-term!
China used to be regarded as a source of laughable-quality novelty products made by impossibly-cheap labourers who worked 20 hours a day for a cup of rice. But then China embraced capitalism 30yrs ago...and never regretted it. Just check the items around you for their production source – the vast majority will say 'Made In China'. China has grabbed the West by the proverbials, and just about torn
'em completely off!
Westerners say "the sky's the limit", but China is looking BEYOND the sky. It's eyeing up the Moon! It landed its first vehicle on the Moon last month, and says it wants to carry out mining operations there!
Why, grasshopper? Because the Moon has H3, a helium isotope with two protons and one neutron. It's rare on Earth but common on the Moon and can produce LOTS of energy! One wheelbarrow of H3 will keep the whole US economy going for a week.
Mining on the Moon…a helluva challenge. Well, don't write off the rice-munching novelty-makers: if anyone can do it, these long-term visionaries can! And as the stuff's worth US$5 billion per ton, it's worth the challenge.
There's the slight stumbling block of the 1979 UN Moon Treaty, saying no state has Moon ownership or mining rights and all decisions concerning the Moon and other celestial bodies must be referred to the international community. But surprise, China hasn't signed it. Neither has US…or any of the other countries that've actually sent anything into space!
They're not bound by the treaty, so when it comes to mining the H3, it'll be first-in first-served. And let's face it, when the mining's going on nearly 390,000kms away on a desolate grey dusty rock, who'll be there to complain?
Pass the moon cakes please, Chang.

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