The United States is in a new space race with China, a senior NASA official said, and warned that a China victory could lead to the country claiming “ownership” of large swathes of the moon.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut and Florida senator, has warned that it is entirely possible that China could encircle the most resource-rich regions of the moon if it holds attendance for the first time, Politico reported Sunday.
“It’s a fact: We’re in a space race,” he told the outlet. “And it is true that we better warn them that they will not go to a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research. It is our territory.”
Nelson went on to highlight China’s aggression in the South China Sea, where the Chinese government routinely claims sovereignty over territories belonging to other countries.
NASA Space CAPSULE orbiting the Moon
China’s burgeoning space program succeeded in establishing a new space station earlier this year. Meanwhile, NASA is working on a series of Artemis missions to the moon.
After an “unexpected loss,” NASA says spacecraft communications have been restored
Artemis I was launched in November on a 26-day mission to take pictures of the lunar surface, and the Artemis II and III missions are progressing toward more consistent lunar activity.
However, NASA has also focused on Mars, sending several robotic rovers to the planet to gather data on the planet’s soil, atmosphere, and potential landing areas for a manned mission.
Artemis returned to Earth and splashed into the Pacific Ocean in December.
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Chinese investments in spaceflight and other missile technologies are part of an ongoing arms race with the United States and Russia, with all three countries currently developing hypersonic weapons.
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