China's robotic lunar rover goes for a spin on the dark side of the moon. Photo: AFP/China National Space Administration
China's robotic lunar rover goes for a spin on the dark side of the moon. Photo: AFP/China National Space Administration

Throughout history, people have fought for hegemony, power and, of course, resources. Unfortunately, despite the fact that human society can now be considered highly evolved, the problems remain pretty much the same. The unique difference is that now we have media that allow the high and mighty, the powerful of this world, to make it look like something else is happening. One of the perfect examples is so-called “false-flag” operations.

Increasingly, the trade war between the US and China is looking like just another intentional misrepresentation. Over the past 16 months, the two countries have been snipping at each other through tariffs on goods, trying to instill in people the idea of fighting for justice. But the fact is these folks are bargaining for something much more serious than fair trade balances.

First, the US doesn’t want to lose its place as the world’s largest economy. Second, Americans are not willing to cede control over some parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

There is also another topic that has always interested the US government – energy resources. However, this time it’s neither gas nor petroleum, but something way more rare and difficult to extract – helium-3, also known as “lunar gold.”

In 1986, scientists at the Institute of Fusion Technology at the University of Wisconsin estimated that the lunar “soil,” called the regolith, contains about a million metric tons of helium-3 (3He), a material that could be used as fuel to produce energy through nuclear fusion. According to the study, mining it would be a profitable undertaking: the energy produced by the helium-3 would be 250 times that needed to extract this resource from the moon and transport it to Earth, where the lunar reserves of helium-3 could supply human needs for centuries.

Despite the fact that this discovery is based on samples collected by the Apollo missions more than 30 years ago, not a single gram has been collected yet – this despite the fact that national space agencies and several private companies haven’t given up their dreams of becoming space miners. Early this year, China landed a probe on the far side of the moon to explore the area around the Von Kármán crater. According to Bloomberg, with the moon landing, China now is positioned as a contender for exploration, communications and space commerce. The stated goal for the Chang’e-4 sitting on the dark side of the moon is to collect samples and identify what minerals are there. Thus if they manage to bring the “second-generation fuel” back to the Earth, it could be the one true game-changer.

Does it mean that in reality we are living a new arms/space race between the US and China? Time will tell; for now, we can only speculate and guess.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this article are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the author may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated.

Igor Kuchma

Igor Kuchma is a financial adviser who is passionate about economy and the capital markets in general. He has experience working with Russian, Spanish and American financial institutions. He helped to compile a course for the Series 7 exam, while some companies he has prepared investment portfolios and macro and microeconomic models in Excel, and has studied trends and historical data.

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