How will China's moon landing affect the world?
The Chinese probe Chang'e 4 has landed on the dark side of the moon, a first in the history of lunar exploration. Commentators predict that China will become the new space power and ask what consequences this will have for the balance of power on Earth.
Birth of a new space power
China's successful lunar mission puts pressure on the two established big players in space, Russia and the US, The Guardian comments:
“So far, China's precise ambitions for its space programme remain unclear. Establishing itself as a space power is surely one - but is it as a space power, or the space power? The equipment it has now sent to the moon suggests that communications and new natural resources are priorities. How far will the US, in particular, be prepared to watch and wait while Beijing potentially races ahead in these sensitive areas? Stand by for the US and Russia to take a new interest in the moon.”
The race in space has begun
China correspondent Felix Lee worries in Basler Zeitung about the potential military threats the moon landing entails:
“The Chinese leadership has realised that if it has guided missiles in space, it can hit any target on Earth. In 2018 China sent more missiles into orbit than any other country. And the load that new generations of rockets can launch into space has steadily increased. ... US President Donald Trump is already preparing for the new competitors in space. He has set up a new military 'Space Command'. His predecessors had scaled back investments in the US space program. A new arms race has begun. So far the Europeans are just watching. In view of this trend, China's landing on the dark side of the moon is not only fascinating, but also threatening.”
China must be taken seriously
Europe must finally get fit for the technological race, urges the daily Die Presse:
“There is still no long-term strategy for how Europe plans to equip itself for the technological race. Yet the fact that the People's Republic is increasingly calling the tune in this market which promises billions in profits will not only have economic consequences for Europe: technology will determine the world through and through. The states that dominate it first will set the rules for the new world order. The reactions to China's march of conquest vary from uncritical willingness to cooperate to a hysterical demonization of everything Chinese or self-satisfied predictions that the People's Republic will eventually collapse. However one thing is missing in the debate: the will to get to know the new global player. Because only then can Europe take it on seriously.”
Russia prefers to destroy Earth
The Chinese probe on the dark side of the moon and Nasa's latest photos of the Ultima Thule, which is 6.6 billion kilometres away from the Earth, prompt Echo of Moscow to ask what has been going on with Russia's space programme recently:
“We Russians are earthlings and should be happy about the successes of our non-friends in Washington and our pseudo partners in Beijing. But the question remains: what has our space programme achieved in this same period? ... Let's not forget that recent days Russia unveiled its purportedly hypersonic missile 'Avangard' - the best New Year's gift for the Russian people, Putin said. That's just what they had hoped Father Christmas would bring them, right? ... And while the Chinese and Yankees are exploring other planets, we're thrilled to have discovered a quicker way to destroy mankind.”