China’s successful launch of its Long March 5 Rocket on December 26 was a powerful reminder of humanity’s true mission and higher nature as a species of reason and discovery which came at just the right moment as China/US tensions have fallen to new lows in recent months.
For those who may not be aware, the Long March 5 Rocket is part of a multi-phase program which aims to eventually have permanent human colonization on the Moon and also Mars along with other important goals of asteroid and lunar mining which promises to revolutionize humanity’s concept of what a “resource” actually is. On a higher level, this plan also brings into question what new forms of fuel can be used to power civilization (the Moon is replete with millions of tons of the isotope Helium-3 as has been noted by leaders of the Chinese Space Agency which happens to be the perfect fuel for fusion power). Earlier this year, China became the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the moon.
While this program has occurred under the veil of America’s 2011 ban on US-China space cooperation, China has continued to offer olive branches to the USA to join in these endeavors.
The Long March 5 lift off from Hainan features four core aims:
1) Deploy a telecommunications satellite in earth’s orbit to service Silk Road countries (the 33rd this year-far beyond the quantity deployed by either the USA or Russia)
2) Provide the basis for deploying a core module for China’s manned space station.
3) Prepare for deploying the first lunar lander which will bring samples back to earth later this year.
4) Deploying a Mars lander as part of the broader mission of better understanding the origins and nature of life and evolution of solar systems and galaxies.
The importance of this program at this moment of global crisis cannot be overstated as the US sits precariously atop an economic crisis and a renewed targeting of Russia and China as the primary threats to America with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 signed into law on December 20 (ironically the two countries which the US needs as allies if a meltdown of America is to be avoided). Dark Age thinking behind the NDAA was showcased in all of its ugliness by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who stated that “both nations (Russia and China) are rapidly modernizing their armed forces and expanding their capabilities into the space and cyber domains… Beijing and Moscow are not only violating the sovereignty of smaller states, but they’re also attempting to undermine international laws and norms to advantage themselves at the expense of others.”
Space: A Domain of Peace or War?
Just as American politics is reeling over a fight between “the two Americas” (imperial vs constitutional traditions), so too has America’s science community been torn apart by a combat between a military industrial cult on the one side and forces representing better patriotic scientific traditions on the other.
Representing those “better patriotic traditions”, many former and past NASA administrators including Charles Bolden have made headlines calling openly for the lifting of the ban on US-China space cooperation imposed during the Obama Administration while current NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has called for international cooperation on asteroid defense and the Lunar Gateway. Other positive steps made by the “sane America” are featured in President Trump’s championing of the Artemis Space Program to put humans back on the Moon permanently by 2024, designs for a lunar base orbiter and broader Mars missions which include an advanced rover to be launched in July 2020 as a precursor to bringing soil samples back from the Martian surface in 2028 and a larger mission to land a human on the surface in the 2030s.
While these are incredibly positive dynamics, it is important to take note of the neo con nut jobs who have made every effort to pervert space technology for their own dystopian ends.
Speaking out against the military industrial side of American space policy which the NDAA has unleashed, China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian said:
“the US has established a space force and developed strong space operations capabilities which will only intensify militarization and arms race in space and greatly undermine peace, security and global strategic stability”.
Col. Wu is referring to Space Force which was activated with the December 20 NDAA as a 6th Branch of the military. This remarkably short sighted doctrine which attempts to wrap a wall of terror around the beautiful potential of our species is especially incompetent considering the mutual benefits to all human kind found in space exploration. Mark Esper demonstrated typically brutish neo con blindness to this opportunity when he said:
“Our reliance on space-based capabilities has grown dramatically and today outer space has evolved into a war fighting domain of its own… maintaining American dominance in that domain is now the mission of the United States Space Force.”
Breaking out of Closed System Thinking
In spite of the narrow-minded strategies of military containment exemplified by Esper and other NDAA architects, China’s commitment to a re-orientation of humanity’s horizons to the stars is a breath of fresh air and forces a sort of “Sputnik Moment” to present itself to a sleeping west that has far too long forgotten it’s better heritage. It is too easily forgotten that Russia’s successful launching of Sputnik polarized the imaginations of the world and provided a master key which great leaders always knew would serve as an escape from the unwinnable doctrines of Mutual Assured Destruction of the Bi-polar Cold War. Had Sputnik not happened, then America’s own space program would never have gotten the support it needed to become a world leader in the 1960s under the leadership of Kennedy, and the vast array of spin off technologies such as internet, telecommunication satellites, cell phones, GPS, 3D Printing, prosthetics, CT Scans, and Aeroponics would never have occurred.
For those cynics out there who attempt to reduce the value of space exploration to mere theories of “Cold War competition”, they need look no further than President John F. Kennedy’s bold call to for space cooperation with the Soviet Union on September 20, 1963… less than one month before his assassination.
In this speech (which ideologues like Pence, Bolton and Esper should have listened to before their their neo-con indoctrination began), the late President echoes the spirit of win-win cooperation of Xi Jinping by calling for a total ban on the weaponization of space, a finalization of the nuclear test ban treaty and most importantly US-Soviet cooperation on a lunar landing.
Since Kennedy’s concepts are so important for today’s troubled world, I think it’s appropriate to end this report with some selections of his speech:
“Today we may have reached a pause in the cold war–but that is not a lasting peace. A test ban treaty is a milestone–but it is not the millennium. We have not been released from our obligations–we have been given an opportunity. And if we fail to make the most of this moment and this momentum–if we convert our new-found hopes and understandings into new walls and weapons of hostility–if this pause in the cold war merely leads to its renewal and not to its end–then the indictment of posterity will rightly point its finger at us all. But if we can stretch this pause into a period of cooperation–if both sides can now gain new confidence and experience in concrete collaborations for peace–if we can now be as bold and farsighted in the control of deadly weapons as we have been in their creation–then surely this first small step can be the start of a long and fruitful journey.
…The fact remains that the United States, as a major nuclear power, does have a special responsibility in the world. It is, in fact, a threefold responsibility–a responsibility to our own citizens; a responsibility to the people of the whole world who are affected by our decisions; and to the next generation of humanity. We believe the Soviet Union also has these special responsibilities–and that those responsibilities require our two nations to concentrate less on our differences and more on the means of resolving them peacefully. For too long both of us have increased our military budgets, our nuclear stockpiles, and our capacity to destroy all life on this hemisphere–human, animal, vegetable–without any corresponding increase in our security.
…Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity–in the field of space–there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries–indeed of all the world–cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending someday in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries.”
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org