What is China’s plan to use the Moon as a shield to stop asteroids hitting the Earth?
China is planning a base on the moon, together with a system to detect and destroy asteroids heading for the Earth, but NASA is worried about the real motives.
China plans to use the Moon as a shield as part of its action plan to to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts, according to sources in Beijing. But the US is wary of the real motives behind China’s plans.
The Director of NASA, Bill Nelson, said at the beginning of the month that he was concerned by the Chinese plans that include installing facilities on the moon: “We must be very worried that China is going to land on the Moon and say: now it is ours and you stay out,” Nelson said. According to the head of NASA, China seeks to build its own lunar base together with Russia with plans to finish it by 2035, enabling the two nations to carry out experiments on the lunar surface.
What does China want to do on the moon to protect the Earth from satellites?
China is planning an entire planetary defence system, with the moon being one part of that. It wants to place three satellites in orbit around the moon, with built-in weapons systems, which could be used to either destroy asteroids or nudge them out of an Earth-bound trajectory. In addition, two telescopes would be built at the poles of Earth’s satellite to survey the sky, working in tandem with a ground-based early warning network, to detect any threatening asteroids.
As of now, China wants to carry out a crewed mission” to the Moon in the next five years, a period in which it will continue to focus on the exploration of the poles of the satellite.
China feels ‘threatened’ by America’s reaction to its moon plans
The Chinese government reacted angrily to the statements from NASA’s director, saying that the accusations pose “a great threat” to the peaceful use of space. China argues that its exploration of space is always in pursuit of legitimate economic, social, scientific, technological and security objectives.
“The system will have the ability to intercept incoming asteroids from all directions and can form a defense circle approximately twice the distance between the Moon and Earth,” said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Program of China in an article published in the journal Scientia Sinica Informationis.