Notes Antic Disposition

Machiavelli and the Moon

New Scientist, on the next frontier of colonialism:

The Lunar Treaty drafted by the United Nations in the 1990s has still not been signed by the space powers. Since this leaves the moon unprotected by law—the ultimate terra nullius—we may now see a scramble for territory.

History shows that the first step is colonisation and—the pressing issue—staking a claim. We are already witnessing the same mix of challenge, bravado, inquiry and national enthusiasm, suffused with dreams of empire and wealth that spurred the Antarctic race. Plus, there’s fear. “Whoever first conquers the moon will benefit first,” as Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's moon exploration programme, once told the BBC.