NASA has urged China to be “open and transparent” on its lunar missions after revealing the two nations are overlapping on potential landing sites near the moon’s south pole.
“Just as the lunar south pole is of scientific interest to NASA, it is also of scientific interest to other nations, so overlap in potential landing regions is to be expected,” NASA told DailyMail.com.
The US space agency earlier this month identified 13 potential landing sites for the manned Artemis 3 mission, which is currently scheduled for late 2025 and will mark the first time Americans have set foot on the lunar surface in half a century.
A Chinese journal article on possible landing sites written by Chang’e-4 lunar mission commander Zhang He and others mentions 10 points. Artemis 3 and Chang’e-7 both identify locations near Shackleton, Haworth, and Nobile craters as potential landing zones.
“We will continue to share our plans with the world as much as possible and hope other nations will share their plans with us. We promote transparency and peaceful exploration of space in accordance with the principles of the Artemis Convention and the Outer Space Treaty,” the US Space Agency said.
NASA has urged China to be “open and transparent” on its manned lunar missions after it was revealed potential landing sites near the moon’s south pole are overlapping between the two countries
“As we explore the Moon, we will adhere to what we set out in the Artemis Accords – that we be transparent about all activities, operate in a safe and responsible manner, and avoid harmful interference,” NASA added.
“We want to be as open as possible with the international community, and as a recent example, we have announced 13 candidate landing regions for Artemis III.”
The space agency is already discussing its plans in several forums, including the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), of which China is a member.
Chang’e-7, named after the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e, will be unmanned and consist of an orbiter, lander, mini-hopping probe and rover and is planned for 2024.
The US space agency earlier this month identified 13 potential landing sites for the manned Artemis 3 mission, which is currently scheduled for late 2025 and will mark the first time Americans have set foot on the lunar surface in half a century
The overlapping spots are in part a result of the higher lunar elevation, good illumination, and proximity to shadowy craters that could trap water ice, according to SpaceNews, which was first to report the news
The overlapping spots are in part a result of the higher lunar elevation, good illumination, and proximity to shadowy craters that can trap water ice, according to SpaceNews, which first reported the overlap.
It remains to be seen how the rival nations would deal with potential conflicts over the 2011 Wolf Amendment — which bans NASA from allocating government funds for direct, bilateral cooperation without express authorization from Congress and those associated with the Chinese government and organizations use the FBI.
In 2015, however, the Obama administration began what it called the US-China Civil Space Dialogue, which allowed for a discussion of space issues. this was continued in the Trump administration.
A State Department spokesman told Space Outlet: “The last civil space dialogue between the US and China was in 2017. There are currently no plans for another civil space dialogue. Should a civil space dialogue be convened, the US will announce this in due course.
“We have and will keep lines of communication with Beijing open, including on space security issues.”
Sarah Noble, Artemis Lunar Science Lead for NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said in a previous statement, “Several of the proposed locations within the regions are beneath some of the oldest parts of the Moon and, along with the permanently shadowed regions, offer the possibility of through.” to learn something about the history of the moon from previously unstudied lunar material.’
“As we explore the moon, we will adhere to what we set out in the Artemis Accords – that we be transparent about all activities, operate in safe and responsible ways, and avoid harmful interference,” NASA said
NASA officials have said they will narrow down their list about 18 months ahead of Artemis 3 so they can prepare for possible landings at each site.
There has recently been a war of words between the two countries over space activities.
Last month, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told a German newspaper that China was planning to take over the moon.
“We have to be very concerned that China will land on the moon and say, ‘It’s ours now and you stay out,'” he said.
China was quick to voice its displeasure.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said in a statement, “This is not the first time the head of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration has ignored the facts and spoken irresponsibly about China.
“The US side has constantly mounted a smear campaign against China’s normal and reasonable space efforts, and China firmly opposes such irresponsible statements.”
Christopher Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University in the UK, told SpaceNews: “This is a real opportunity for cooperation and collaboration between the two giant powers and an opportunity to show all the rhetoric about space exploration more than.” geopolitical in nature.’
“In reality, however, it’s not difficult to understand why they both want the same jobs. It is a prime lunar property for in situ resource use. This could be the first potential conflict point for resources beyond Earth,” he added.
According to a recent article in Beijing’s Global Times, “Space observers also pointed out that China is working on innovative plans to conduct its own manned lunar landing missions while NASA scrambles to relive its Apollo glory.”