The Guardian inveighs against making money off the universe. "The new space race isn't focused on science or discovery, but is about exploiting lunar minerals"
I first heard about helium-3 (He-3) from the geologist Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, the only scientist among the 12 Americans who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972, and a tireless campaigner for a US return. He understood a 21st-century programme would never happen without an economic rationale, and he hoped that He-3, which is deposited on the surface by the solar wind, might provide one. If the necessary fusion technology could be made to work, he said, this compound would be a source of clean energy for Earth.
But if clean energy is to come from profit-making activity then the price is too high, according to author Andrew Smith.
At present, nations are forbidden under international treaty from making territorial claims to the moon, but the same has hitherto been true of Antarctica, of which the UK government is trying to claim a chunk. Earth's sister has played a role in teaching us to value our environment: how extraordinary to think that the next giant leap for the environmental movement might be a campaign to stop state-sponsored mining companies chomping her up in glorious privacy, a quarter of a million miles from our ravaged home.
Most human conflict and indeed most human misery comes from the scarcity of economic resources. It was the lure of the Western Sea and the land in between that drove the visionaries of Manifest Destiny across the continent to the detriment of the Indians. It was the lure of gold which propelled the Conquistadores across the Atlantic. It was the dream of resources that launched Imperial Japan on its conquest of China and Asia. It was Lebenstraum which beckoned Hitler across the European plains.
Today, for the first time in human history, man can look forward to spreading into truly virgin territory. To go where no man has ever gone before; and consequently where no man ever need be displaced from his abode. The words "we come in peace for all mankind" may have fallen unheard upon the lunar rocks. But the words still have meaning to a mankind trapped not only upon Earth but within his history. If Marxism was a project to bring History to an end in the near future, Environmentalism is an attempt to freeze History in the distant past. Not for the benefit of mankind, nor even when you come to think of it, for Nature -- unless man is excluded from the account -- but for the sake of having the power to end history on their terms.
They will not succeed and man will go on. No less than the trees and stars we have a right to be here.