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China will build a surveillance network on the Moon

China is building a vast network of cameras on the moon to monitor its upcoming research station. This system is inspired by China’s massive surveillance network, Skynet.

The project represents a major advancement in space exploration, with the potential to alter the dynamics of global space competition.

What is a lunar base?

A lunar base is a planned facility that would allow people to live and work on the Moon for extended periods. It would be similar to a research station on Earth. 

The main purpose of a lunar base is to provide a safe and sustainable environment for astronauts to conduct research. This is challenging because the Moon has no air, water, or protection from harmful radiation and extreme temperatures.

A lunar base design would require several key features. Residents would have dedicated living quarters for rest, sustenance, and leisure. Scientific research would be facilitated by on-site laboratories equipped to analyze lunar materials and environmental conditions. 

The base would be self-sufficient in power generation, potentially utilizing solar panels, and employ closed-loop systems to manage air and water resources.

World’s largest video surveillance network 

With over 600 million cameras distributed across China, Skynet stands as the world’s largest video surveillance network. These cameras cover most of the country, including cities, public spaces, and important facilities. The main goals are to improve public safety, assist law enforcement, and strengthen national security.

Skynet uses powerful technology like facial recognition to identify people and activities that could be a threat. This allows the system to quickly find wanted individuals, track suspicious behavior, and even predict potential crimes by analyzing the vast amount of data it collects. 

The name “Skynet” reflects the system’s broad reach and its aim for near-constant monitoring. Chinese researchers are now planning a similar system on the Moon to safeguard its lunar facilities and personnel. 

Lightweight cameras for moon surveillance 

China’s ambitious project is led by the Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Centre, a prominent organization under the umbrella of the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Their goal is to install a sophisticated network of small, high-tech cameras.

These lunar cameras are remarkably lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 100 grams each, roughly the weight of a small apple. They are specifically designed to endure the harsh lunar environment. These cameras boast the capability to switch between regular visible light and infrared imaging, allowing them to maintain Moon surveillance under various lighting conditions.

China’s lunar base

China’s lunar base will be over six kilometers wide, which is roughly the size of 1,000 soccer fields. It will be much more than a temporary shelter; it will be a fully equipped facility designed for people to live and work on the Moon for extended periods.

Command center

The base will have a central command center, similar to a brain, that will be responsible for overseeing the entire operation to ensure everything functions smoothly. 

Communication systems

To keep the base functioning, there will be special systems for providing power and maintaining communication with Earth. These systems are essential because they will guarantee a steady supply of energy and allow the base to stay connected to our planet at all times.


Recognizing the challenges and risks of working on the Moon, China plans to use robots for many tasks that would be too dangerous or difficult for astronauts. These robots could be used for various purposes, such as exploring difficult terrain or conducting scientific experiments.

This comprehensive setup signifies China’s unwavering commitment not only to reach the moon but also to establish a long-term, sustainable presence there.

Ethical concerns about Skynet 

China’s Skynet has sparked a complex debate about public safety versus individual privacy. While the government and supporters believe it’s essential for maintaining order, safety, and solving crimes, critics worry about its broader impact on human rights and privacy.

One main concern is that Skynet could be used for mass surveillance. With facial recognition and monitoring capabilities, it raises privacy issues. Critics fear it could be misused to track dissidents, limit free speech, and restrict freedoms. This could discourage people from protesting or expressing criticism for fear of being watched and punished.

Skynet surveillance on the Moon 

China’s plans to extend a surveillance network to the Moon raise more ethical concerns, especially regarding the governance of space and individual rights there. 

This pushes the conversation into new territory, prompting questions about applying Earth’s laws and ethics in space, protecting individual rights in space environments, and how international cooperation can ensure space remains peaceful and inclusive for exploration.

Countries are racing to the moon

Countries around the world, especially China and the United States, are in a competition to build bases on the Moon’s south pole. The United States is concerned that China’s technology and secure base could give them a major advantage in space. 

This is not just a concern about who has the best technology, but also about how countries will use space in the future and whether they will follow the rules that have been set up.

As both China and the United States move forward with their plans for the Moon, it is becoming increasingly important to have discussions about the ethical, legal, and cooperative aspects of space exploration. These discussions are necessary to create a framework that promotes transparency, cooperation, and the peaceful use of resources in space.


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