Mains Paper 3: 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 China’s radar.
• 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 future.
• 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 lander;
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
Correct Answer: D
Q.1) Critically examine the China’s recent achievement could trigger yet another rivalry with the U.S. in outer space.