Lunar Security or Space Spying? China’s Moon Surveillance Raises Concerns

China plans to move the world's largest surveillance network to the Moon to protect its lunar assets and monitor activities on the lunar surface.

2 mins read
Lunar Security or Space Spying? China's Moon Surveillance Raises Concerns

China plans to move Skynet, the world’s largest video surveillance network, to the Moon, creating the largest surveillance network in space. This will be a project designed to protect China’s future assets on the Moon and monitor lunar activities.

China’s eye on the moon: Skynet 2.0

Skynet (Tianwang) is the largest video surveillance network in the world, with more than 600 million cameras covering almost every part of China. China’s lunar surveillance system will benefit from lessons learned from Skynet in building and operating the optical surveillance system for the lunar research station.

The basis of the system will be high-performance security cameras. These cameras will operate in visible light or infrared regions and will be equipped with AI-enabled chips.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) says this system will ensure the safety of lunar activities. The cameras will weigh just 100 grams each and will be capable of “independently identifying, locating, tracking and targeting suspicious targets.”

However, the huge amount of data the cameras will generate will strain bandwidth and data processing capacity. This project aims to develop advanced technologies for data transfer and processing.

Will a network of security cameras on the Moon be legal?

This initiative parallels plans by China and the US to establish international bases on the Moon’s south pole. The prospect of competition and conflict over the Moon’s limited and potentially concentrated water resources has raised concerns among spacefaring nations.

International law prohibits placing weapons on the lunar surface, and both countries have repeatedly stressed that their lunar exploration programs are entirely peaceful. How do you think this project could affect the future of human presence on the Moon and in space?


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