[ExI] China to Own the Moon by 2027

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Apr 2 09:19:12 UTC 2012

On 02/04/2012 09:32, Adrian Tymes wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 11:31 PM, Eugen Leitl<eugen at leitl.org>  wrote:
>> There's the only way to claim land: ability to defend it. I don't
>> see how can any state attempt to claim the whole of the Moon, if anything,
>> it would be some strategic locations (area at the poles, some mineral
>> deposits, etc).
> Set up guns.  (Railguns, possibly.)  Shoot anything that gets too close.
> As expensive as it is to send things up now, requiring armor - or
> powerful enough engines to dodge - would make it far more expensive.
> If you claim the entire Moon, you don't have to worry about whether
> anything incoming is going to land in your part or not.

It is not the moon end where force is relevant, it is in near Earth 
orbit and launch/reentry. A moonbase is nothing if it cannot get 
supplies or deliver whatever valuable is there down to Earth. Things in 
the stratosphere and low orbit can be hit (as demonstrated by the 
Chinese, and implicit in the ABM system). The problem is that defense is 
hard while offense is easy: armor is not feasible when you have to 
struggle against the rocket equation or re-entry aerodynamics, and 
anything at orbital velocity is already nearly a railgun bullet.

My guess is that any attempt at owning the moon requires having *all* 
powers able to wreck your expensive space infrastructure agree that it 
is OK.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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