NASA chief warns of Chinese land grab on the Moon

NASA chief warns of Chinese land grab on the Moon

NASA chief warns of Chinese land grab on the Moon

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said it was “not out of the realm of possibility” for China to try to claim parts of the Moon as its own (Getty Images/iStock)

The NASA chief has warned that China may try to claim territory on the moon if it wins over the US to establish permanent bases on the lunar surface.

Bill Nelson, who took over the US space agency in 2021, said the US is in a new space race with China and that geopolitical tensions between the two countries on Earth could spill over to the Moon. .

“It is a fact, we are in a space race,” Nelson told Politico.

“And it is true that we had better be careful that they do not get to a place on the Moon under the guise of scientific research. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to say, ‘Stay away, we’re here, this is our turf.'”

Former International Space Station (ISS) Commander Terry Virts also expressed concern, citing “potential sleepers” by China.

The comments follow a recent US Defense Department report detailing the current state of China’s space program, including its ability to develop spacecraft capable of landing on the far side of the Moon.

The 196-page report, released in November, also predicted President Xi Jinping’s intentions, as well as the possibility of a second space race.

“Beijing’s goal is to become a fully capable and broad-based space power. Its rapidly growing space program, second only to the United States in the number of operational satellites, is a source of national pride and part of President Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ to establish a powerful and prosperous China,” the report states.

“China is developing other sophisticated space capabilities, such as satellite inspection and repair. At least some of these capabilities could also function as a weapon.”

The rocket carrying China's second module for its Tiangong space station lifts off from the Wenchang spaceport in southern China on July 24, 2022 (Getty Images)

The rocket carrying China’s second module for its Tiangong space station lifts off from the Wenchang spaceport in southern China on July 24, 2022 (Getty Images)

China has always denied concerns about its motives.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said: “Some US officials have spoken irresponsibly to misrepresent China’s normal and legitimate space efforts… China always advocates the peaceful use of outer space, opposes militarization and arms race in outer space. space, and actively works to build a community with a shared future for humanity in the space domain.”

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