NASA fears that China wants to take control of the moon
Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 05 July 2022, at 02:42 am Los Angeles time
China has called "irresponsible defamation" a warning from the NASA director that the Asian state could try to "take control" of the moon as part of its military program.
China has accelerated its space program over the past decade, focusing on exploring the moon. China managed its first unmanned landing in 2013 and plans to launch rockets strong enough to send astronauts to the moon by the end of this decade.
"We need to be very concerned about the possibility of Chinese astronauts landing on the moon and saying, 'It's ours from now on, you have nothing to look for here,'" NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in an interview with the German daily Bild, published on Saturday.
The director of the American space agency also said that China's space program is a military one and that the Asian country "stole" ideas and technology from other countries.
"This is not the first time that the director of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration has ignored the facts and spoken irresponsibly about China," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"The US side has consistently built a campaign to defame the normal and reasonable operations that China is conducting in space, and China strongly opposes such irresponsible remarks," the Chinese official added.
China has always promoted the idea of building a common future for humanity in outer space and opposed its militarization, as well as an arms race in space, he said.
NASA, through its Artemis space program, plans to send a manned mission to orbit the Moon in 2024 and wants one of its astronaut crews to land near the South Pole of the Moon by 2025.
For its part, China plans to send unmanned missions to the lunar south pole before the end of this decade.