The New Space Race: How the Next 50 Years Will Shape Global Politics

The coming five decades of space exploration are poised to revolutionize the landscape of global politics.

Shortly, events in space will profoundly impact human history, much like the influence of mountains, rivers, and seas on Earth.

In his new book, The Future of Geography, author Tim Marshall reveals the geopolitics of space. It’s called “How Power and Politics in Space Will Change Our World.” He shows how we got here and where we’re going.

Below, Tim walks us through the new space race. He introduces the key players and their goals, highlights the tensions already being exposed, and discusses what needs to change to foster collaboration, not conflict. Companies like Woo Casino have disrupted online gaming, and space dynamics are set to change global politics.

What is the New Space Race?

Space is becoming an extension of Earth. Our nations, corporations, politics, and conflicts reach beyond our planet.

The Cold War space race was about exploration; now, it’s about claiming territory. As more countries enter space, there will be both competition and cooperation.

Space is vital for communication, economics, military strategy, and international relations. Earth’s rivalries and alliances now include space. New ‘spheres of influence’ and claims will emerge.

Yet, without agreed-upon rules, this competition could lead to significant conflicts.

Triggers and Transformations: Understanding the New Space Race

Space travel expenses have reduced, thanks partly to Elon Musk’s SpaceX and their reusable rockets. So is the shrinkage of satellites. This makes it cheaper to send the machines up, and you can deploy several at the same time.

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Yet, signs have been accumulating that space will be a significant geopolitical narrative of the 21st century.  

Rare metals and water have recently been found on the Moon. Private companies have significantly lowered the cost of breaking through the atmosphere. The big powers have fired missiles from Earth and blown up their satellites to test new weapons. All of these events have been pieces of the bigger story emerging.  

Which Nations Will Be in the New Space Race? 

The top contenders are the USA, China, and Russia, but this race has a very different dynamic.

More than 80 countries are exploring space. Some might be surprised to learn that the United Arab Emirates has sent a probe to Mars or that Israel has crashed on the Moon.

Other nations know they can’t compete with the Big Three, but they still want a say in what goes up and comes down. They are considering their choices and organizing themselves into ‘space alliances.’

What Goals Does the New Space Race Have?

Challenges will be taken on for prestige, commercial, and strategic reasons. 

For example, the return to the Moon via the Artemis mission has many goals. One goal is the Moon Bases the USA and China/Russia plan to build. Another uses the Moon as a launch pad for going to Mars, and another mines the Moon for resources.

Metal oxide deposits in several of the Moon’s expansive craters have recently been discovered. The Moon is also believed to contain silicon, titanium, rare earth metals, and aluminum.  

Humanity will spend more time on the Moon, digging for metals vital to modern technology. Many countries want these resources. They want to reduce their reliance on China, which holds a third of the world’s known reserves.

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Countries are also interested in helium-3. It could be used for nuclear fusion, a potent and less radioactive energy source. While rare on Earth, the Moon may have a million tonnes of helium-3. If harnessed, it could meet humanity’s energy needs for around 10,000 years.

The space race also has a military aspect. Satellites are crucial for commerce and warfare. Countries will need to defend them and, in some cases, can attack them.

Implications of Leading the Space Race

Colonizing the Moon will help a country or an alliance. It will give them advantages like those of maritime powers in the past.

A strong power can block others’ ambitions by taking territory and trying to police it. The satellites will maintain a direct line of sight to geostationary and low Earth orbit. Those pioneering the way will define the standards that others will likely adopt.

Those who establish a presence first will have the first opportunity to tap into the wealth of the Moon. They will also be able to ship some of that wealth back home.

What Tensions Are Most Likely to Occur in Space? 

The potential for conflict may increase due to satellites’ vulnerability to attack. These satellites house countries’ early-warning systems for detecting nuclear launches. A nation may be tempted to act first if it perceives a threat to these machines.

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Without satellites, international communication networks and global positioning systems would not exist. Attack these satellites, and your grocery delivery van can’t find you. The emergency services have lost their way. Ships drift off course. The UK loses an estimated £1 billion a day. We cannot overstate their importance to modern life. Their role in the military is now key to modern warfare.

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How Important is Regulating the New Space Race? 

The idea that space is a global commons is disappearing. The stakes are high. We must establish fresh guidelines and enhance our comprehension of their domains. There are eight billion reasons why.  

Everyone on this planet is vested in maintaining a structured space framework and fostering worldwide cooperation on matters related to the cosmos. Without this, we may end up fighting over the geography of space, as we have done over the geography of Earth. 

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