The space race: on China's moon mission
Mains Paper 1: Science and Technology
Prelims level: China's moon mission
Mains level: Key significance and impacts of the China's moon mission
- China’s achievement in landing a spacecraft on the far side of the
moon could trigger a rivalry with the U.S. in outer space.
- China’s January 3 landing on the mysterious “dark” side of the
moon, the first by any country, gives Beijing a leg up on Washington over
big ticket space exploration.
- The Chang’e-4 mission got around the problem of lack of
communication with those on earth by using a relay satellite.
- The data that China obtains on the moon’s craters could help it
acquire an edge over other countries, including the U.S., in the highly
competitive domain of space research.
- The Chinese could also steal a march over the Americans by
launching advanced rockets, which would explore new frontiers in space.
Unlike earth, the moon has an abundance of helium-3.
- In the far future, this can serve as the ideal fuel to power a new
generation of spaceships, with the moon as the launchpad, instead of earth.
Dark side of the moon on China's moon mission
- The Chinese may have also taken the lead over peers in exploring
the possibilities of human habitation on the moon.
- The Yutu-2, the rover of the ongoing Chang’e-4 mission, is
programmed to explore the South Pole-Aitken Basin.
- This vast impact region, 13 km deep and 2,500 km wide, has copious
reserves of ice.
- The promise of water has persuaded international space scientists
to peg the site as suitable for a permanent lunar outpost, which is on
- The promise of the moon’s natural resources can add another layer
of rivalry between the Chinese and the Americans.
- Space exploration buffs have considered asteroids as lucrative
sources of precious metals such as gold, platinum, silver and iridium in the
- It is relatively the more accessible surface of the moon could
yield precious resources, the race for lunar colonisation would begin,
providing China a substantial early-mover edge.
- NASA has congratulated its Chinese counterpart on the impressive
success of the Chang’e-4 mission.
- But its graceful applause is unlikely to yield step two: an offer
of active space collaboration between the two countries.
- The popular mood within Washington’s political class has been
soured by the sentiment to contain China’s rise.
- In China, an intense techno-war, furthered by the U.S.-inspired
arrest in Canada of the scion of the telecom giant, Huawei, has bruised the
country’s nationalistic psyche.
- A new generation of Chinese and American peace advocates, global
citizens and cyber-activists have their task cut out to step up their game
and prevent outer space from becoming another arena of a budding Cold War
between Washington and Beijing.
Q.1) Consider the following statements about International joint
collaboration payloads on Chang'e 4 it includes
1. Germany's Lunar Lander Neutrons and Dosimetry (LND), installed on the
2. Sweden's Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutrals (ASAN), installed on the rover;
3. Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE), installed on a relay
satellite called Queqiao, which launched in May 2018.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Q.1) Critically examine the China’s recent achievement could trigger yet another
rivalry with the U.S. in outer space.