As I mentioned earlier this week, the space-related stories are coming out fast and furiously, and they invite a certain amount of dot connecting. Think, for example, of the stories I blogged about previously this week, and connect a few dots with this one. With that in mind, here we go:
Remember those stories a few years ago about the Japanese architectural firm's plans to build a huge microwave power station on the Moon, and beam power back to the Earth? If not, see this story:
Well, you may or may not recall that China responded to this Japanese plan by pointing out the obvious, and the obvious wwas that such a huge installation would in actuality be a weapon, able to fry significant portions of the Earth's surface (see
Well, Mr. D. S.M. sent along this article in response to my previous blog about China's launch of a quantum communications satellite:
Note, firstly, this statement:
The facility would be used for defense monitoring and scientific research, and South China Morning Post reported that the base’s powerful radar antenna array at least 50 metres high “could also produce more powerful and clearer images of earth as the high-frequency microwaves emitted by the radar station could not only penetrate cloud, but also the earth’s surface, allowing it to monitor areas on land, under the sea and underground.” (Emphasis added)
Note the use of the planned station for "scientific research": as I pointed out a few days ago in another blog, under current international treaties, the Moon may not be weaponized nor may it be "privatized," but under loopholes, anyone can establish a base for "research," and that research, notably, is undefined, permitting one to build just about anything. The real question then becomes: is this merely one of those studies that countries occasionally sponsor in order to establish parameters for their long range goals, or is this in aid of something else?
In the context of those blogs I wrote three years ago about the Japanese "microwave power plant" idea and its naked potential for weaponization, and the Chinese response indicating that they, at least, weren't being fooled by the Japanese plans, then it raises equal questions about Chinese plans for 50 meter tall radar antennae being powered by nuclear power plants, for a phased radar array, if made sufficiently power, might be able to do other things, like slow-cooking a meal, for instance.
So why the Moon? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to simply build a ring of nuclear powered satellites to do much the same thing, if all one wanted to do was to monitor the Earth for "defense" and "science research" purposes?
And that raises the question, then, of just what the Chinese are up to. For the purposes of our high octane speculation of the day, recall in this regard two things: (1) first recall the recent launch of a Chinese quantum communcations satellite, an essential component not only for secure military communications, but also for secure international financial clearing. Think of it this way: would you rather trust the relatively "hackable" satellite clearing systems of SWIFT in Brussels, or a nearly hack-proof system of communications relying on quantum encryption? (2) Secondly, recall that China also recently announced that it wanted to be the first nation to send and land a probe on the far side of the Moon.
Think about that for a moment, for that means in order to be able to do so, China will first have to orbit communications satellites around the Moon in order to be able to control the lander and to receive any images and test results it may send back to Earth.
Now, a radar station actually on the Moon would be of inestimable benefit both to a system of quantum communications and financial clearing, and to the project of landing something on the far side of the Moon and controlling communications with it securely. A Seleno-SWIFT in the Sea of Tranquility would be far more secure than the one in Brussels.
But why go to all that effort and expense? Well, one high octane speculation presents itself and is, more or less, immediately apparent: such steps would be absolutely essential for an interplanetary commerce and financial clearing, and essential to defending it militarily... and as the article also suggests, when China is "first" to do something, it usually trumpets the fact, and in this instance, does not do so, which raises all sorts of thorny questions of its own...
See you on the flip side...