月球竞赛 2.0:是什么激发了人们对月球任务的新兴趣?  

 Between 1958 and 1978, USA and former USSR sent 59 and 58 moon missions respectively. The lunar race between the two ceased in 1978. End of cold war and collapse of former Soviet Union and subsequent emergence of new multi-polar world order has seen renewed interests in moon missions. Now, in addition to the traditional rivals USA and Russia, many countries like Japan, China, India, UAE, Israel, ESA, Luxembourg and Italy have active lunar programmes. USA dominates the field. Of the new entrants, China and India have made significant inroads and have ambitious lunar programmes in collaboration with partners. 美国航空航天局的 Artemis mission aims to re-establish human presence on moon and set up lunar basecamp/infrastructure in near future. China and India also have similar plans. Renewed interests in moon missions by many countries is driven by utilisation of lunar minerals, ice-water and space energy (particularly solar) for deep space human habitation and for supplementing energy needs of growing global economy. The strategic rivalry between the key players may culminate in space conflicts and weaponisation of space.  

Since 1958 when the first 月亮 使命 先锋0 was launched by the USA, there have been about 137 月亮 missions so far. Between 1958 and 1978, USA sent 59 missions to the moon while the former Soviet Union launched 58 moon missions, together accounting for over 85% of all lunar missions. It was termed as “lunar race” for superiority. The two countries successfully demonstrated key milestones of “lunar soft-landing” and “sample returns capabilities”. 美国航空航天局 went one step ahead and demonstrated “crewed landing capability” as well. USA remain the only country to have demonstrated maned moon mission capability.   

1978年之后,有十多年的平静期。没有发送登月任务,并且“太阴 美国和前苏联之间的“竞赛”停止了。  

1990 年,日本的 MUSES 计划重新启动了月球任务。 目前,除了传统竞争对手美国和俄罗斯(作为1991年解体的前苏联的继承者); 日本、中国、印度、阿联酋、以色列、欧空局、卢森堡和意大利都有积极的月球计划。 其中,中国和印度在月球计划方面取得了特别重大的进展。  

China’s lunar programme started in 2007 with launch of Chang’e 1. In 2013, Chang’e 3 mission demonstrated China’s soft-landing capability. China’s last lunar mission Chang’e 5 achieved “sample return capability” in 2020. Currently, China is in process of launching crewed 月亮 mission. India’s lunar programme, on the other hand, began in 2008 with Chandrayaan 1. After a gap of 11 years, Chandrayaan 2 was launched in 2019 but this mission could not achieve lunar soft-landing capability. On 23rd 2023年XNUMX月,印度月球着陆器 维克拉姆 of 月球 - 3 任务在南极高纬度月球表面安全软着陆。 这是首次登陆月球南极的月球任务。 至此,印度成为继美国、俄罗斯和中国之后第四个拥有月球软着陆能力的国家。  

Since 1990 when moon missions restarted, a total of 47 missions have been sent to the 月亮 so far. This decade (i.e., 2020s) alone has already seen 19 moon missions. The key players have ambitious plans. 美国航空航天局 intends to build basecamp and related lunar infrastructure to re-establish human presence on moon in 2025 under Artemis program in collaboration with Canada, ESA and India. Russia is has announced to remain in lunar race following failure of her recent Luna 25 mission. China is to send crewed mission and has plans to establish a research station on the moon’s south pole by 2029 in collaboration with Russia. India’s Chandrayaan mission is considered as a steppingstone towards ISRO的 future interplanetary missions. Several other national space agencies are striving to achieve lunar milestones. Clearly, there is a renewed interest in moon missions hence the impression of “Lunar Race 2.0” 


Missions to 月亮 are considered steppingstones towards interplanetary missions. Utilisation of lunar resources will be crucial in future colonisation of space (possibility of 大规模灭绝 in future due to natural disasters like volcanic eruption or asteroid impact or due to manmade conditions like climate change or nuclear or biological conflict could not be completely rules out. Spreading out into space to become a multi-planet species is an important long-term consideration before humanity. 美国航空航天局的 Artemis program is one such beginning towards future colonisation of space). Deep space human habitation will very much depend on acquisition of ability to exploit extraterrestrial energy and mineral resources in the solar system to support and sustain crewed missions and space habitations1.   

As the nearest celestial body, 月亮 offers many advantages. It has variety of minerals and materials that can be used to produce propellants for space transportation, solar power facilities, industrial plants and structures for human habitations2. Water is very crucial for long-term human habitations in space. There is definitive evidence of water ice in the polar regions of 月亮3 that the future lunar bases can utilise to support human habitation. Water can also be used to produce rocket propellants locally on the 月亮 which will make space exploration economical. In view of its low gravity, 月亮 can serve as more efficient launching site for missions to 三月 和其他天体。  

Moon also has huge potential of “space energy” (i.e., energy resources in outer space) that promises a way forward to the burgeoning energy needs of growing global economy (through supplementing conventional energy supplies on Earth) and the need of an outer space-based energy source for future space explorations. Because of lack of 气氛 and abundant supply of sunlight, 月亮 is eminently suitable for setting up solar power stations independent of earth’s biosphere that would supply cheap and clean energy to global economy. Collectors on lunar surface can convert sunlight into microwave or laser which could be directed to the Earth-based receivers to convert into electricity4,5.  

成功的太空计划在情感上将公民联系在一起,巩固民族主义,并成为民族自豪感和爱国主义的源泉。 月球和火星任务还帮助各国在国际间寻求和重新获得权力地位,特别是在冷战结束和苏联解体以来的新的多极世界秩序中。 中国的探月计划就是一个很好的例子6.  

Perhaps, one of key drivers of lunar race 2.0 is strategic rivalry between the United States and the ambitious China in the new world order. There are two main aspects of the rivalry: “crewed 三月 missions along with lunar basecamps” and “weaponisation of space” resulting in development of space-based weapon/ defence systems7. The idea of common ownership of outer space is likely to be challenged by the Artemis 月亮 使命8 由美国及其国际合作伙伴(例如加拿大、欧空局和印度)率先提出。 中国还计划与俄罗斯合作进行类似的载人飞行任务并在月球南极建立研究站。 有趣的是,印度的月船3号最近在月球南极软着陆。 有迹象表明,印度和日本将在未来的月球任务中进行合作。   

主要参与者之间的战略竞争,加上其他因素(例如中国与印度、日本、台湾和其他国家的边界​​争端)日益紧张,有可能引发太空冲突和外太空武器化。 空间技术具有军民两用性,可以作为太空武器。 空间系统的激光武器化9 尤其会扰乱国际和平与和谐。  



  1. Ambrose WA、Reilly JF 和 Peters DC,2013 年。太阳系人类住区的能源资源和地球在太空的未来。 数字编号: https://doi.org/10.1306/M1011336 
  1. Ambrose WA 2013。月球水冰和其他矿产资源对于火箭推进剂和月球人类定居的意义。 数字编号: https://doi.org/10.1306/13361567M1013540   
  1. 李S., 2018。月球极地地区表面暴露水冰的直接证据。 地球、大气和行星科学。 20 年 2018 月 115 日,36 (8907) 8912-XNUMX。 数字编号:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1802345115  
  1. Criswell DR 2013。日月地太阳能电力系统将实现人类无限繁荣。 数字编号: https://doi.org/10.1306/13361570M1013545 &月球太阳能发电系统 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/45.489729  
  1. 张涛, 2021.空间能源综述。 《应用能源》第 292 卷,15 年 2021 月 116896 日,XNUMX。DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2021.116896  
  1. Lagerkvist J.,2023。对国家的忠诚:月球和火星探索以实现持久的伟大。 发布于 22 年 2023 月 XNUMX 日。DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-40037-7_4 
  1. Zanidis T.,2023。新的太空竞赛:我们这个时代的大国之间。 卷。 4 第 1 期 (2023):HAPSc 政策简报系列。 发布日期:29 年 2023 月 XNUMX 日。DOI: https://doi.org/10.12681/hapscpbs.35187 
  1. Hanssen,SGL 2023。瞄准月球:探索阿尔忒弥斯计划的地缘政治意义。 UiT穆宁。 可用于 https://hdl.handle.net/10037/29664  
  1. Adkison,TCL 2023。外层空间战争中空间系统的激光武器化技术:定性研究。 科罗拉多技术大学论文。 可用于 https://www.proquest.com/openview/a982160c4a95f6683507078a7f3c946a/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y  


乌梅什·普拉萨德(Umesh Prasad)
乌梅什·普拉萨德(Umesh Prasad)
科学记者| 《科学欧洲》杂志创始人编辑







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