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August 11, 2007 / Mridul

Race for ‘New Energy’: US, Russia go North Pole, China off to the Moon

The thirst of energy has made the ‘biggies’ to go to the ends of the world & out of it. Russia has put claims over the North Pole & its unexplored natural reserves, so has Canada which recently sent a ship to the North Pole to make its presence felt.

On August 6, the US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy left Seattle on a mission to map the sea floor off the coast of Alaska. Although officially this is a ‘science’ mission but it is clear that now USA also wants a piece of the pie. Russia recently, in a sort of show of power, symbolically planted a flag at the sea floor under the North Pole (I personally found it bit funny). Under the international law all these countries including Denmark have rights over the region.

The Middle East is becoming highly unstable & there are genuine fears that somewhere in the future the terrorists could use oil as a tool to increase their influence over the region or even worse try to hijack the pace of the global economy by creating a bottleneck in the oil supplies. Then there are leaders like Hugo Chevez who would almost everything to hurt America’s interests which could in turn affect the global economy.

So these countries are out to find newer areas from where they could get easy & secure supply of energy. One of these areas is the moon. China plans to launch a lunar orbiter called “Chang’e One” in the second half of 2007 to take 3D images & map every inch of the moon. Now the Russian, American & European space agencies have already done that so there’s nothing new that the Chinese will find.

The former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam had put forward the idea that the various space agencies of the world should collaborate with each other to tap the huge Helium-3 reserves present on the moon and China seems to have paid attention to it. Likewise India is also working on a similar program.

With so many big players involved in the ‘race for the New Energy’ some serious diplomatic clashes are very much expected and it would be interesting to see who gets how much of the energy pie.

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