MAR 02, 2022 AT 12:44 AM
The space exploration topic is rapidly gaining popularity among powerful countries. It seems that we are entering a new era of the space race. Do you remember the recent one? It resulted in the man in space and the Moon landing. But then the US and Soviet Union lost their passion for investing money into space projects and for years to go there have been only cool plans with no financing and no real steps. Now private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin start getting the topic of space exploration to a new level of competition.
Today we are going to look at Russia’s space potential. It’s not only about crazy plans of Rostec and Roscosmos companies but about recently published news telling us that Russia and China are going to build a Moon-based lab to investigate the space much further than we can do now. Is it just the plan? Or are they taking any steps towards it? Let’s find out.
Moon lab is highly needed for scientists
In terms of space distances, Moon is located very close to the Earth, and you might think that building a Moon-based lab and investing billions in it has no sense. But it actually has. The thing is that there aren’t so many places on Earth where you can observe space with no obstacles like too much light or unpredictable weather. You may have noticed that the most efficient space labs are built in mountain areas that are located over the usual cloud height. These stations are still limited in their efficiency because there are more and more artificial light sources on our planet. And the nights are never as dark as needed. So there are maybe 2 or 3 hours a week that astronomers may use these huge telescopes for investigating the sky.
Moon can offer much better conditions for scientists. You may have heard about the dark side of the Moon, and yeah, it’s not the Myth. There is the side of the Moon that is always turned away from Earth and from the Sun. Although, this is a relatively small spot that is believed to be the location for the extraterrestrial military base (by conspiracy theorists, of course), the spot is ideal for the observation of outer space. Well, they think it’s ideal.
For checking this theory, you will need to send a spacecraft with some scientists in it to the Moon and to try and look into space. That won’t be as simple as you might think to build a lab on the Moon, though. So Russia is going to partner with China to have more technologies available for building the base. But still, we have some doubts it can be made fast.
What are the original plans?
Well, there is official information that Russia and China are going to build kind of a lab on the Moon. China National Space Administration announced in March 2021 that they are going to start a huge project called the International Lunar Research Station. CNSA officially noticed that they were going to cooperate with Roscosmos in that project. But Chinese didn’t tell the press what the station will be like. They even hinted that it can be placed on the Moon’s orbit instead of the surface. In the official memorandum, they wrote that they welcome any interested countries to join the project, but we doubt any other country can actually join.
A definitive target deadline hasn’t yet been shared with the public. Though it’s rumored that China and Russia want the project to be finished by 2031. The plan is too ambitious, experts say, but we have to take into account that China has been rushing with its space technologies faster than any other country, investing billions in new robotic missions. They are compensating for the time they lost when the Soviet Union and the USA had this famous space race. And China is now certainly the country to look up to when talking about space exploration.
They have successfully launched robotic missions to the far side of the Moon becoming the first country to ever do this, and a robotic mission to Mars nearly simultaneously with NASA mission. They are working under the projects of big spacecraft that could beat American ones in terms of efficiency and speed. And that’s where NASA should start boiling with anger looking at how two big countries cooperate to create something really massive and futuristic.
The base will be appropriate for humans to live there
Now it’s time to see what actually they are going to build on the Moon. We believe that the Moon lab will be located on the surface because it makes it cheaper to build and easier to deliver parts. The Moon landing is now not a difficult thing to do with modern technologies. They won’t even need any information from Apollo missions of NASA. Surface location is better because it gives them opportunities to enlarge the station if needed. It’s easier for astronauts to live there because Moon has gravitation. It’s also easier to place needed generators for supplying the station with electricity and oxygen.
The base will reportedly be home to a dozen of astronauts and scientists who will have their missions for some months. China and Russia are already training people to live in such conditions. The base is going to be the largest man-made object in space when completed, but still, no one knows the final shape and size of the lab. Also, we can’t say what kinds of equipment and telescopes they will use.
The lab is going to have quite a lot of purposes, part of them will probably be unofficial. Now there is no information on what they are going to investigate in the future lab. But we can predict that space exploration can get to a new level thanks to this base. They can watch the space with the most efficient telescopes 24 hours a day with no obstacles. Complete darkness will help them see much more than they can see from the Earth.
Also, Moon has quite good landscapes for training astronauts. For example, before going on a long manned mission to Mars, the astronauts may be sent to the Moonbase for practicing remote living, technologies, and spacecraft use. They can also check and test different kinds of transport on the Moon’s surface. Scientists agree that a Moonbase could be a great thing to have if you are going to explore other planets. For example, in future the humanity will probably need to investigate exoplanets that are now found around Solar System. For this, they will need to train somewhere, and the Moon could be the greatest option.
Hidden plans and motives
You shouldn’t believe that the space race is finished. The US is still a very big player in this sphere and NASA is the most technological company. DARPA in the US works hard to create technologies for further space exploration. So we won’t expect the US to calmly watch Russia building a base on the Moon. There is one important factor that won’t allow the US authorities to just observe the process.
The Moon is a great strategical point that can be used for spying. If you place a huge telescope on the far side and add some technologies to it, you can see what kind of tomatoes your neighbor is planting in his backyard. We believe Russia and China have huge military plans for their new objects on the Moon. And that’s why the US won’t ever participate in the projects. There are now hundreds of unofficial satellites spying for different countries and even people. The Moonbase will be the largest spying object in the Solar System, and it’s going to be finished in 10 years.
If you think about it, both Russia and China are now not in their best economical condition to invest billions in science, astronomy, and space exploration. So, the idea to build an insanely expensive Moonbase in 10-years’ time sound crazy. But if you add some military purposes to the project, it starts making sense.