Does the Moon Have Military Value?

So asks Yahoo contributor Mark Whittington, who does a nice job rounding up the current range of opinion on this pressing issue. In sum, though, it seems hard for the answer not to be “yes,” at least if you broaden “military” from “can we use it to launch missiles?” [maybe, but offensive uses of the moon are forbidden by the Outer Space Treaty] to “does it have significant strategic value?”

Have you heard about this helium-3 stuff, though?

The moon also has two very important resources that would be useful for some country to control by military means, water and helium 3.

Lunar frozen water, recently discovered in great abundance, can be used to sustain a lunar settlement and refuel space craft headed to other destinations in the solar system. Control the water and one controls access not only to the moon but to destinations beyond.

Helium 3, an isotope not found on the Earth, is envisioned by some scientists as a clean burning fuel for future, fusion power plants. If and when fusion power becomes reality, control of the Moon becomes the rough equivalent of control of the Persian Gulf.

(Yahoo via Slashdot)

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