NASA chief warns China could claim territory on moon if new ‘space race’ wins
NASA’s top administrator says the US is in a new phase space race with China and warned that a Chinese victory could lead to the country claiming to “own” huge swathes of the moon.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut and senator from Florida, warned that it’s entirely possible that China would evict the most resource-rich areas of the lunar surface if they settle there first, Politico reported Sunday.
“It’s a fact: we’re in a space race,” he told the outlet. “And it’s true that we’d better be careful that they don’t come to a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research. And it’s not out of the question that they’ll say, ‘Stay out, we’re here.’ , this is our territory.'”
Nelson further pointed to China’s aggression in the South China Sea, where the Chinese government routinely claims sovereignty over territories belonging to other countries.
China’s nascent space program has succeeded creation of a new space station earlier this year. Meanwhile, NASA has been working on its series of Artemis missions to the moon.
Artemis I launched in November for a 26-day mission take pictures of the lunar surface, and the Artemis II and III missions are advances toward more established lunar activity.
However, NASA has also targeted Mars by sending multiple robotic rovers to the planet to collect data on the planet’s soil, atmosphere and possible landing zones for a crewed mission.
Artemis I returned to Earth and splashed into the Pacific Ocean in December.
Chinese investments in spaceflight and other missile technology come amid an ongoing arms race with the US and Russia, as all three countries are currently developing hypersonic weapons.
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