NASA and China are making ambitious plans to go to the moon?and now Russia, Japan and India are too. In fact, since NASA is not scheduled to return to the moon until 2018, India, China and Japan will probably get there FIRST. Once everyone arrives, will they all cooperate in scooping up the valuable Helium 3 fuel from the surface--or will this mean war?
The surface of the moon is now being mapped by satellite sensors, which are looking for polar ice. It will be much easier to set up moon mines if water can be tapped.
Meanwhile, everyone involved is keeping up the pretense that they're spending billions of dollars to go to the moon (or return, in NASA's case) for the purposes of pure research. Brown University's James Head claims that the spacecraft being sent to the moon will fill in the missing gaps from the Apollo missions that took place almost 40 years ago. In space.com, Leonard David quotes Head as saying, "This new wave of spacecraft will be yielding tons of detail--a baseline for grasping how other planets work. The Moon is a keystone to that understanding."
But no matter how you spin it, the truth is that the upcoming moon missions are all about oil, except this time, it's an alternative fuel. But that won't make the battles any less intense.
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