China Proposes Establishing Moon-Based Special Economic Zone - China Briefing - Canadanewsmedia
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China Proposes Establishing Moon-Based Special Economic Zone – China Briefing

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Op-ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Real intent may be to usher in lunar ownership claims.

Bao Weimin, a Director of the Science and Technology Commission of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has been reported in Chinese and Russian state media as suggesting that China would benefit from establishing an “Earth-Moon Special Economic Zone”.

Bao said that Beijing is considering creating the first Earth-Moon economic zone by 2050. According to him, China is planning to invest in studies on how much it would cost for the idea to come to fruition, as well as for the deployment of a transportation system linking Earth and its natural satellite.

The CASC is the main contractor for China’s national space program, while the project could bring in around US$10 trillion for China, the state-linked Science and Technology Daily newspaper reported.

With an earth-moon economic zone, China aims to ensure that it has the ability and the first presence right to establish the rules of behavior for who has access and who can benefit. This also has long term implications for US-China, China-Russia, and China-India relations as well – all have moon-based exploration projects currently underway.

Bao said that the field has huge economic potential and thus the country should study reliable, low-cost aerospace transport systems between the Earth and Moon.

The basic technology is set to be finished by 2030, while the key transport technology is expected to be created by 2040. By the middle of the century, China could successfully establish the space economic zone, according to Bao.

China has been rapidly developing its space sector and studying the Moon in recent years. In July, private company i-Space (also known as Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology) launched a carrier rocket in the first successful orbital mission by the Chinese commercial space industry. Last year, China launched its Chang’e 4 probe, successfully landing its lunar rover on the far side of the Moon on January 3 this year.

China has already started investing in Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) – a technology that it plans to use to power a lunar base. The SBSP’s deployment will take place in stages, with the first satellite scheduled for deployment in low-Earth orbit by 2025 and the GEO-based SBSP to be deployed by 2050.

Other important steps on Beijing’s way to establishing an Earth-Moon economic zone would be a study on the feasibility of 3D printing and lunar manufacturing by 2035 as well as a manned lunar mission, which is scheduled to take place by 2036.

China is also currently planning new lunar probe launches, as well as the deployment of satellites that will ensure a communication bridge between the Earth and Moon.

Dezan Shira & Associates’ Chris Devonshire-Ellis comments: “While the proposal sounds fun, there is a very serious component to this: ‘Who owns the Moon?’ According to the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, signed by every space-faring country, no nation can claim sovereignty over Earth’s lunar satellite. 102 countries have entered the 1967 accord; China joined in 1983. I suspect that Bao’s intent is to lay grounds for Beijing to start to erode the existing treaty and to begin the process of permitting ownership of lunar sites in future.”



(The film deals with the exploitation of lunar resources and mining.)


About Us

China Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in DalianBeijingShanghaiGuangzhouShenzhen, and Hong Kong. Readers may write to china@dezshira.com for more support on doing business in China.

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Cheekbone of ancient snake sheds light on snake evolution – Edmonton Sun

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The jaw structure of an ancient legged-snake holds critical insight into the evolution of the slithering reptiles, according to joint research from Argentinian and University of Alberta paleontologists.

The “strikingly” well-preserved fossil is of the rear-limbed snake Najash rionegrina, found in Argentina. According to research from paleontologists Fernando Garberoglio and Michael Caldwell, nearly 100-million years ago, these legged snakes still had a cheekbone, also known as a jugal bone, which has all but disappeared in modern-day snakes.

“Our findings support the idea that the ancestors of modern snakes were big-bodied and big-mouthed — instead of small burrowing forms as previously thought,” said Garberoglio, from the Fundación Azara at Universidad Maimónides, in Buenos Aires, Argentina and lead author on the study in a release.

“The study also reveals that early snakes retained their hindlimbs for an extended period of time before the origin of modern snakes which are for the most part, completely limbless.”

Paleontologists’ understanding of how snakes evolved has been hindered due to a limited fossil record. However, the fossils in this study have been crucial in reconstructing snake evolution.


A 100-million-year-old fossil of a legged snake’s cheekbone discovered in Argentina provides new insight into how modern snakes evolved, thanks to new research from a collaboration between Argentinian and University of Alberta paleontologists. Photo credit: Fernando Garberoglio

Using micro-computed tomography scanning, the researchers were able to visualize the skull structure. They could examine pathways of nerves and blood vessels as well as the skeletal structure that would otherwise be impossible to see without damaging the specimen.

“This research revolutionizes our understanding of the jugal bone in snake and non-snake lizards,” said Caldwell, a professor in the department of biological sciences and earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Alberta. Caldwell is a co-author of the study.

“After 160 years of getting it wrong, this paper corrects this very important feature based not on guesswork, but on empirical evidence.”

The snake fossils in the study are found in Northern Patagonia and are closely related to an ancient lineage of snakes that populated the southern hemisphere continents of Gondwana. The researchers believe they are related to only a small number of obscure, modern snakes.

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Look up! Northern lights to dance across Canada overnight – CTV News

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TORONTO – Forecasters say the northern lights will be unusually vibrant and visible Wednesday night and early Thursday morning across almost all of Canada.

This is because energy from a solar storm is expected to hit the earth Wednesday night, amplifying the usual aurora borealis.

According to the aurora forecast from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Canadians in cities including Edmonton and Winnipeg will see dazzling displays from the natural phenomenon, if the skies are clear.

The entire country will, weather permitting, potentially be able to see the lights low on the horizon. So will people in U.S. cities such as Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Seattle.

Based on midday forecasts, cloud cover blocking the lights looked to be a serious concern in Winnipeg and Halifax, less serious in places such as Edmonton and Toronto, and not a concern at all in Vancouver and Montreal.

However, skywatchers whose plans are foiled by clouds on Wednesday may not be out of luck.

While the aurora borealis is expected to recede from its peak by Thursday night, it will still be visible in many of the same areas. People in parts of Nova Scotia, southern Ontario and Vancouver Island, however, will not be expected to see any sort of repeat performance.

Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the northern lights should head to a dark location far from the lights of the city, as light pollution can obscure the aurora. Peak viewing conditions are typically between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. local time, although the aurora can be visible anytime between sunset and sunrise.

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New SpaceX Starship prototype pops its top during test… literally – CNET

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Starship Mk1 experienced a bit of rapid disassembly.


LabPadre/Screenshot by CNET

It looks as though a little re-assembly may be required on the biggest prototype yet of Elon Musk’s Mars Starship

The early version of the next generation SpaceX rocket appeared to fail during a pressurization test, sending billowing clouds of gas and its hood miles into the air at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas test site on Wednesday.

A webcam streaming from nearby South Padre Island caught the “anomaly” that occurred at 3:27 p.m. Central Time.

A more distant view catches the sizable hood falling back to the ground:

“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected,” a SpaceX spokesperson told CNET. “There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”

Fortunately, SpaceX also has another prototype – “Mk2” – at its Florida facilities, so we may still see the next phase of Starship development soon.   

On Twitter, Musk said SpaceX will take the opportunity to move on to its next iteration, “Mk3,” which he says will have a more advanced flight design.

It’s important to remember this in no way dooms Starship’s development and it’s not clear how much it may set the program back, if at all. It seems, however, that Mk1 is pretty much old news now with a SpaceX spokesperson telling CNET ” the decision had already been made to not fly this test article and the team is focused on the Mk3 builds, which are designed for orbit.”

The previous single-engine prototype, dubbed “Starhopper,” successfully performed a few very short hops, topping out at 150 meters (492 feet) earlier this year.  


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SpaceX aces Starhopper rocket test

2:41

Updated 4:22 p.m. PT: Adds comment from SpaceX spokesperson.

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