Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Chinese Lunar Scientist's Views on the Future of the Moon

"Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot remain in the cradle forever." , Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935)

Global Times reporter Yu Jincui interviewed Ouyang Ziyuan (Ouyang), a senior consultant at China's lunar exploration program:

"Strictly speaking, China is a developing country. Some people argue that rather than explore the moon, we should concentrate on dealing with problems on Earth. It is understandable.

However, from a broader development perspective, we should not only be engaged in lunar exploration, but also step up our pace.

The lunar exploration program covers many high-tech fields. It is very scientifically demanding, which stimulates the technological upgrades and innovations.

Lunar exploration is a threshold for exploring deep space and remote space, and it could provide the basic experience for eventually exploring other planets. There are unimaginable abundant natural resources on the moon, such as rare earths, or uranium and titanium ores. The titanium ore reserve on the moon is the same size as the whole of China.

Although we are not able to exploit these resources due to the extremely high cost and technological limitations, as scientists, we have the responsibility to prove the existence of these resources and inform the people.

The moon has a very huge energy reserve. Japanese scientists recently came up with a design idea that if humanity could build a moon belt for solar power generation and transmitting energy back to the earth, human energy needs could be permanently satisfied.

Since the 1990s, a total of nine lunar probes have been launched into space, two from China (including the newly launched Chang'e-2 satellite), three from the US, one from Europe, two from Japan, and one from India.

The world is witnessing the climax of the second round of lunar exploration. All the countries involved are expecting to discover more comprehensive and concrete knowledge about the moon.

If China doesn't explore the moon, we will have no say in international lunar exploration and can't safeguard our proper rights and interests.

The contribution of the Apollo project of the US is amazing. According to one calculation, the input-output ratio is 1:14. It drove the development of high-tech worldwide and made the US a leader in the high-tech field for almost 20 years.

China's lunar exploration program is nowhere near as big as Apollo project in size, but it could also make great contributions in promoting technological improvements, scientific progress and talents cultivation.

China should not stay in the cradle of the Earth forever. The Chinese people should make contributions to the human development in the field of space exploration."


China has no desire for new space race

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