Blogs

Blogs

From Soviet Aid to the degree program with the U.S. to take advantage of asteroid mineral wealth

The arrival of a Chinese device on the far side of the Moon has led world public opinion to focus on China's space program, which is more developed than many imagined. Aided by the Soviets in their early days, the Chinese have ended up taking the lead in some programs (probably more apparent than real, given certain setbacks suffered), such as the development of a permanent space station of their own, and compete with the United States in the desire to harness the mineral wealth of asteroids.

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center

▲ Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center [CNSA]

article / Sebastián Bruzzone [English version]

The origin of China's space program1 can be traced back to the early Cold War, at the height of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union over control of international politics. Since 1955, Chairman Mao Zedong sought the respect of world powers and decided to follow in the footsteps of the neighboring country, the USSR. In March of the following year, the Fifth Academy of the Ministry of National Defense began the development of a first ballistic missile (China's Twelve-Year Aerospace Plan). After the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957, Mao threw himself into the development of a Chinese artificial satellite that would be active in space two years later (project 581), in an effort materially and economically supported by the Soviet Union. However, in the early 1960s, the USSR withdrew all its attendance economic and technological crisis following Beijing's accusation that the first secretary of the committee The Central of the CPSU, Nikita Khrushchev, was a revisionist and wanted to restore capitalism.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is the manager of space programs. The first Chinese manned spaceflight took place in 2003, with Yang Liwei, aboard the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft, which docked with the Tiangong-1 space station. In doing so, China became the third nation to send men off Earth. The main goal One of the Shenzhou missions is the establishment of a permanent space station. To date, nine Chinese men and seven women have traveled into space. 


Since 2007, China has shown a special interest in Luna. China's lunar exploration program consists of four phases. In the first (Chang'e 1 and 2), carried out with CZ-3A, two unmanned lunar orbital probes were launched. In the second (Chang'e 3 and 4), in 2013, with CZ-5/E, the first moon landing of two rovers took place. The third (Chang'e 5 and 6) was executed in 2017 with CZ-5/E, consisting of a moon landing and sample return. The fourth, with CZ-7, is scheduled for 2024; will consist of a mission statement manned and the implementation of instructions on the lunar surface.

The mission statement Chang'e 4 was launched on December 8, 2018, and landed on the lunar surface on January 3, 2019, in the crater Von Kárman (186 kilometers in diameter), in the southern hemisphere of the far side of the satellite. Images transmitted by the Yutu-2 rover showed that this never-before-explored lunar surface is densely pierced by impact craters and that its crust is thicker than the visible side. As part of a essay A cotton seed could be sprouted, but high levels of radiation, gravity lower than Earth's, and sudden changes in temperature caused the cotton plant to succumb a few days later. Astronomers believe that the far side is protected from interference from Earth, so from there it would be possible to better study the evolution of stars and galaxies.

In mid-2017, Chinese intentions to search for minerals scarce on Earth on the surface of asteroids, and if possible in their interiors, were made public. Within China's space program, this topic Concrete occupies an important place. Of agreement with Ye Peijan, Maxim manager of the lunar exploration programme, his country had been studying in recent years the possibility of carrying out a mission statement to capture an asteroid to place it in the orbit of the Moon, so that it can be exploited minerally, or even used as a permanent space station, according to the South China Morning Post. The same manager He pointed out that in the Solar System and near our planet there are asteroids and stars with a large amount of precious metals and other materials. This plan will be implemented from 2020. To do this, the CNSA will use the Tianzhou cargo ships, as opposed to the manned Shenzhou exploration ships whose goal The main one is the establishment of a permanent space station, or the Chang'e lunar missions.

The cost of this futuristic plan would be very high, as it would involve the organization of complex and high-risk missions, but interest will not wane, as it could be very profitable in the long term and would give billions of dollars in profits. According to Noah Poponak, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, a single asteroid could have more than $50 billion worth of platinum, as well as other precious metals and water.

Capturing an asteroid requires, first, that a spacecraft land on its surface, in order to anchor itself. The spacecraft will need to have extremely powerful engines, so that, being anchored, it can be able to drag the entire asteroid into the orbit of the Moon. These thrusters, powerful enough to move a rock weighing thousands of tons, do not yet exist. Ye Peijan has warned that this technology needed for such a space experience could take approximately 40 years to develop. For the time being, in March 2017 China announced in the official press that it intended to send probes into the cosmos to study the trajectories and characteristics of some asteroids. With this, it goes live skill with NASA, which is also developing a program aimed at an asteroid.

Tiangong-1 was the first laboratory It is a space telescope that China launched into orbit in 2011, with a length of 10.5 meters, a diameter of 3.4 meters and a weight of 8.5 tons. His goal was to carry out experiments within the Chinese space program and launch the permanent station that the CNSA seeks to have in orbit by 2023. Against all odds, in 2016 digital control of the ship was lost and destroyed in pieces over the Pacific Ocean, northwest of New Zealand. That same year, 2016, a second module, Tiangong-2, with the same objectives. On the other hand, China is making progress on the plan to establish a permanent space station. According to Yang Liwei, the core capsule will be launched in 2020 and the two experimental modules in the following two years, with manned missions and cargo spacecraft.

More blog entries

Publicador de contenidos

Carrera por los recursos espaciales: de la minería al control de rutas

▲ proposal of lunar base for obtaining helium, taken from ExplainingTheFuture.com [Christopher Barnatt]. GLOBAL AFFAIRS JOURNAL / Emili J. Blasco [8-page document.... ReadmoreAboutRace for space resources: from mining to route control "

Ecuador desaprovecha su salida de la OPEP y pierde producción petrolera

The country left the cartel in order to expand its pumping, but the Covid-19 crisis has cut extraction volumes by 10.8%. Construction of a variant of the pipeline that crosses the... ReadmoreAboutEcuador misses out on OPEC exit and loses oil production "

Argentina ve en Vaca Muerta una tabla de salvación, pero falta más capital para su desarrollo

The hydrocarbon field is the central axis of the Gas 2020-2023 Plan of President Alberto Fernández, which subsidizes part of the investment Activity of YPF, Argentina's state-owned oil and gas... ReadmoreAboutArgentina sees Vaca Muerta as a lifeline, but more capital is needed for its development "

El gas natural licuado cambia el juego en el hemisferio americano

U.S. LNG sales to its neighbors and exports from Latin American and Caribbean countries to Europe and Asia open new perspectives Not to depend on gas pipelines, but to be able to buy or sell... ReadmoreAboutLiquefied natural gas is a game changer in the American hemisphere "

Could Spain partner up with Morocco in the field of solar energy?

The two countries are greatly exposed to solar radiation and they already share electricity interconnectors Spain was an early developer of solar energy, but it didn't keep the pace with the... ReadmoreAboutCould Spain partner up with Morocco in the field of solar energy? "

Surinam sigue a Guyana en el ‘milagro’ petrolero

The finding of a "significant" amount of oil in off-shore wells places the former Dutch colony in the footsteps of neighboring Guyana. The intuition has proved to be right and the... ReadmoreAboutSuriname follows Guyana in the oil 'miracle' "

Climate Refugees will raise, nations should find the way for shelter them

▲ Flood rescue in the Afghan village of Jalalabad, in 2010 [NATO]. ESSAY / Alejandro J. Alfonso In December of 2019, Madrid hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP25,... ReadmoreAboutClimate Refugees will raise, nations should find the way for shelter them "

La nueva guerra de precios petroleros

March and April 2020 will be remembered in the oil industry as the months in which the perfect storm occurred: a drop of more than 20% in global demand at the same time that the oil industry... ReadmoreAboutThe new oil price war "

Was the Madrid COP25 useful?

The UN Conference did little to increase international commitment to climate change action, but did at least boost the assertiveness of the EU In recent years, the temperature of the Earth has... ReadmoreAboutWas the Madrid COP25 useful? "

La minería ilegal, la otra destrucción de la Amazonía

Gold mining and oil transport pollute Amazonian rivers It is not only the fires that are negatively affecting the Amazon, which is undergoing an accelerated reduction of... ReadmoreAboutIllegal mining, the other destruction of the Amazon "

Centroamérica aprovecha sus volcanes para generación eléctrica

Geothermal energy already accounts for 7.5% of the Central American electricity mix, with installed capacity still far below the estimated potential. Volcanic activity and tectonic movement... ReadmoreAboutCentral America harnesses its volcanoes for power generation "

Jordan River Basin: Hydropolitics as an arena for regional cooperation

▲Satellite imagery of the Jordan River [NASA]. ANALYSIS / Marina Díaz Escudero Water is an essential natural resource, not only for individual survival on Earth, but also for nation-states... Read moreAboutJordan River Basin: Hydropolitics as an arena for regional cooperation "

Qué hará Bolivia con su gas natural cuando Brasil y Argentina ya no lo necesiten

The upcoming gas self-sufficiency of its two major gas-buying neighbors forces the Bolivian government to seek alternative markets Yacimientos Pretrolíferos Fiscales gas plant in... ReadmoreAboutWhat Bolivia will do with its natural gas when Brazil and Argentina no longer need it "

Blood diamonds keep going through Antwerp

The Belgian city, the world's capital of diamonds, has applied more regulations, sanctions and scrutiny on the industry, but still there are some bad practices ▲ The diamond industry has... ReadmoreAboutBlood diamonds keep going through Antwerp "

Cumbre del Clima 2018, un paso hacia adelante

The meeting COP24 made progress in regulating the Paris agreement , but "carbon markets" remained blocked. Mobilizations in favor of governments taking more drastic measures... ReadmoreAboutClimate Summit 2018, a step forward "

La nueva Guyana petrolera y su proyección internacional

One of the poorest countries in the Americas may become the world's largest oil producer per capita, disrupting the relationship with its neighbors. The promising oil discoveries... ReadmoreAboutThe new oil Guyana and its international projection "

Acuífero Guaraní: mejor que otros, pero pervivencia no asegurada

Geopolitical misgivings about perceived foreign interests should not distract beneficiary countries from implementing sustainable use. The Guarani Aquifer has given rise to a... ReadmoreAboutAquifer Guarani: better than others, but survival not assured "

El 'boom' de la quinoa

Global interest in this fashionable grain has brought additional income to Andean communities. The localization of quinoa production, especially in Peru and Bolivia (together they account for... ReadmoreAboutThe quinoa boom "

Impulso a la conexión gasística de los países de la Iniciativa de los Tres Mares

Poland-Germany struggle for influence in the European region between the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Sea The latest summit of the Three Seas Initiative (TMI) was attended by the... ReadmoreAboutBoosting the gas connection of the Three Seas Initiative countries "

'Guerras del agua' en Asia Central

Central Asian republics dispute scarce water resources in the Aral Sea Basin The lack of effective cooperation between the republics through which the two main water resources of the... Read moreAbout'Water Wars' in Central Asia "