MEANWHILE, IN SPACE, RUSSIA AND CHINA UP THE ANTE…
Yesterday you'll recall that I blogged about the claims of Russian scientists - delivered in Geneva in a context rich with symbolism as if to underscore those claims - to have discovered a new means of the outright transmutation of any element into other elements, using processes that are biological in nature, and therefore, suggestively "alchemical" in nature. You'll recall that these scientists also made direct reference of the applicability of this technology to space, since it would allow ordinary raw materials to be "transmuted" into fuel for propulsion systems. This announcement was made, additionally, within the same time frame that the Russians made an announcement about a plasma engine for space propulsion, according to this article shared by Mr. J.H:
The plasma engine story is intriguing in an of itself, in that it appears to be a version of similar engines that have appeared in the West, with one exception: Russia's Roscosmos appears to be willing to invest in it, meaning that the Russians have tested the concept and that it appears to have enough promise to pursue more vigorously. The timing of the announcement, within a couple of months of the transmutation announcement in Geneva, however, suggests that Russia is orchestrating an campaign of such announcements, perhaps partly in conjunction to enhance its geopolitical status.
One of these announcements concerns new plans for joint Russo-Chinese Moon and Mars missions, and in this context, China is also making statements about commercial ventures on the Moon. We'll get to the latter in a moment, but here's the announcement about Chinese-Russian Mars cooperation(shared by Ms. M.W.):
There is a significant statement in this article that grabbed my attention, and I hope it did yours as well:
Rogozin’s statement’s come less than a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing. During that meeting the two sides inked a pact setting out the legal framework for protecting their rights to sensitive space technologies in joint projects like launch vehicles and rocket engines.
It's that phrase "sensitive space technologies in joint projects like launch vehicles and rocket engines" that caught my eye, for the implication is that this deal may have contained hidden or secret protocols for "sensitive space technologies" of a very different sort, such as space- and/or ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and weapons of a more offensive nature. We tend to take for granted - "since no one else is out there" - that joint missions to Mars, or the commercialization of the Moon or mining of asteroids, are all enterprises that will require the protection of those assets, and that implies, as I've argued previously, not only the inevitable militarization but weaponization of space. Thus, this statement may indicate yet another thing: namely, that Russia and China are coordinating their space-defense issues at a very high, and in a very detailed, way, including jurisdiction over "sensitive technologies."
Recall that in yesterday's blog I indicated that the Russian announcement of a transmutation technology was, in the Russian scientists' own estimation, a space-related technology, allowing the conversion of raw materials for fuels, such as might provide power to permanent human installations on the Moon. This makes it a competitor for being one of those "sensitive technologies" that Russia and China would indeed negotiate over. Additionally, I also suggested that this technology, with its huge potential implications for the issue of nuclear proliferation, would qualify it for careful controls and monitoring by the Russian government.
It is thus the timing of all these announcements that intrigues me, for it is as if the Russian government (and the Chinese) are inviting the West to "connect these two dots". If so, the result is a financial-geo-spatio--political earthquake, and yes, I'm willing to crawl way out onto the end of the twig of high octane speculation to suggest that this, too, may be a reason we have seen the abrupt geopolitical about-faces lately, from BREXIT, to Sultan Erdogan's sudden "turn to Russia", and Mr. Kerry's equally sudden trip to Moscow to patch things up.
See you on the flip side...
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