China will begin drilling on the moon in search of critical minerals within our lifetimes, the head of UK Space Command has said.
In The Times joint interview with his American counterpart, Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey warned about the threat posed by China and Russia beyond the stratosphere.
Godfrey said that “billions” were being invested by China and Russia to explore space and create cosmic weapons. Beijing has technology that can “grab” and move satellites while Moscow has anti-satellite missiles able to hit targets orbiting at 17,500 miles per hour, he said.
He added that Beijing was looking at mining the moon after a lunar test mission in 2020 discovered a new phosphate mineral named Changesite-(Y) that could be used as fuel for nuclear fusion.
General James Dickinson, the head of US Space Command, said that the Pentagon remained confident in its capabilities amid fears that the US was falling behind China in the space race.
In 2021, Beijing tested a hypersonic missile that circumnavigated the globe through low-orbit space before missing its target by 24 miles. The nuclear-capable missile may be able to bypass US air defence systems, experts believe.