DARPA study explores how to live on the Moon as NASA fears Chinese takeover
It may seem like a LUNAtic notion, but DARPA will launch a decade-long research project to determine how people can live on the Moon. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s LunA-10 project seeks ideas to support lunar infrastructure. Coincidentally, NASA chief Bill Nelson fears China may claim the moon as its territory.
Some may forget that space exploration started during the Cold War when the US and the USSR competed for global influence with technological advancements. We will repeat history as the United States and China race to the Moon’s surface with their scientific discoveries. Which one would rise the victor of the New Space Race?
This article will discuss the DARPA Moon study’s plan for scaleable, shareable, interoperable systems. Later, I will explain why the head of NASA worries China will claim the Earth’s satellite.
How would the DARPA Moon study work?
The DARPA webpage for its lunar program is inaccessible to most, but other sources have been reporting about it. For example, The Register shared more details about the project.
The news outlet says the 10-Year Lunar Architecture or LunA-10 Project will last seven months to discover how people could live on the Moon. DARPA Strategic Technology Office program manager, Michael Nayak, explained his organization’s plans:
“For 65 years, DARPA has pioneered and de-risked technologies vital to civil space advancement. LunA-10 continues this rich legacy by identifying and accelerating key technologies that may be used by government and the commercial space industry, and ultimately to catalyze economic vibrancy on the Moon.”
DARPA prioritizes the development of key industries like construction, communications, sciences, medicine, and mining. Also, the science update website Interesting Engineering says DARPA is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
These organizations collaborate to identify additional investments necessary for the DARPA Moon study’s success.” Nayak explained, “We set out to talk with NASA, figure out what they’re doing, figure out what their roadmap is…”
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“And then see if there are other complementary investments that we can make to significantly advance the state of the art that align with your typical DARPA mission,” he added.
More importantly, the research organization wants a thriving economy in this heavenly body. “Just like DARPA’s foundational node of ARPANET grew into the sprawling web of the internet, LunA-10 is looking for those connective nodes to support a thriving commercial economy on the Moon,” Nayak elaborated.
It is studying how to move stuff and people on the Moon. Also, it is developing ways to apply “wireless power beaming into other tech” to make this out-of-this-world economy possible.
Why does NASA think China will take over the Moon?
"I don't want China to get to the [Moon's] south pole first with humans and then say: this is ours, stay out.
"If indeed we find water in abundance … we want to make sure that's available to all"
NASA boss Bill Nelson not holding back here:https://t.co/ScYPbjoNsx
— The Register (@TheRegister) August 9, 2023
Most people recognize DARPA as a weapons research group. Unsurprisingly, the DARPA Moon study also aims to repurpose defense capabilities on Earth.
Interesting Engineering reports the program could develop thermal management technologies for lunar power systems. As a result, we on Earth can use it for communications and navigation services.
Despite this article’s subject, that space technology application is realistic. For example, our mobile phones use location tracking thanks to global positioning systems from orbital satellites.
Believe it or not, a more intriguing story is brewing with the DARPA Moon study. Believe it or not, NASA administrator Bill Nelson told Politico China may take over the Earth’s satellite.
He cited the Eastern power’s military expansion in the South China Sea as an example of what might happen in outer space. Also, Nelson shared this explanation:
“It is a fact: we’re in a space race. And it is true that we better watch out that they don’t get to a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research. And it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they say, ‘Keep out, we’re here, this is our territory.”
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“If you doubt that, look at what they did with the Spratly Islands,” he added. Terry Virts, retired Air Force colonel, told Politico China has political motivations to dominate the Moon:
“On one level, it is a political competition to show whose system works better,” he said in an interview. “What they really want is respect as the world’s top country.”
“They want to be the dominant power on Earth, so going to the moon is a way to show their system is working. If they beat us back to the moon, it shows they are better than us.”
DARPA will launch a seven-month lunar program to determine how people can colonize the Moon. The LunA-10 project plans to combine multiple technologies for a functional lunar infrastructure.
This story comes as NASA admin Bill Nelson fears China might take over the Moon. Consequently, these countries parallel the Cold War space race.
Nevertheless, their discoveries will usher in more improvements in our daily lives. Learn more about the latest digital trends and tips at Inquirer Tech.