NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has raised concerns about China’s potential territorial ambitions on the moon. In an interview with Politico, Nelson warned that if China were to beat the US in the race to the lunar surface, it could claim the moon as its own territory, citing China’s military expansion in the South China Sea as an indicator of what might happen.
Nelson pointed to the construction of new military installations on the Spratly Islands, a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, as evidence of China’s territorial ambitions. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming Artemis 3 mission, which aims to land astronauts on the moon by 2025, in ensuring that the US remains competitive in the space race, according to Business Insider.
“It is a fact: we’re in a space race. And it is true that we better watch out that they don’t get to a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research. And it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they say, ‘Keep out, we’re here, this is our territory’,” Nelson said.
China has made significant advancements in its space program in recent years, including the launch of a crew of taikonauts towards its new space station, Tiangong, and plans to launch three missions to the moon over the next decade as part of its Chang’e lunar program. The country claims to have discovered a new lunar mineral that could be used as an energy source.
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