NASA Admin Warns That China Could Start Territorial Dispute In Moon Following Their Lunar Mission in 2030

By Thea Felicity

Apr 29, 2024 10:00 AM EDT

Serge Bromberg (R) works on April 21, 2011 on the restoration of the 1902 movie "Le voyage dans la lune" (A Trip to the Moon) by French director Georges Melies. This unique colored version, found in Barcelona in the 1990's, is being restored by Frenchman Bromberg, CEO of Lobster Films, and Tom Burton, Technicolor's Executive Director of Restoration Services, in Hollywood. The restoration is said to be the most expensive of the history of cinema. The film runs 14 minutes if projected at 16 frames per second, which was the standard frame rate at the time the film was produced. It was extremely popular at the time of its release and is the best-known of the hundreds of fantasy films made by Méliès. A Trip to the Moon is the first science fiction film, and uses innovative animation and special effects, including the well-known image of the spaceship landing in the moon's eye.
(Photo : GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has issued a stark warning about China's ambitious strides in space exploration, cautioning that they could trigger a race for lunar territory akin to the disputes in the South China Sea. 

Nelson's worries about China's space advancements coincide with the setbacks NASA's Artemis moon program encountered. The Artemis program aims to send astronauts back to the moon, marking the first human landing on the lunar surface in many years. However, both the Artemis II and Artemis III missions, which are crucial parts of this program, have been delayed by a year. 

These delays are attributed to concerns related to important equipment onboard the launch vehicle.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Nelson expressed concerns over the potential for the United States to fall behind in the global space race as China presses forward with plans to land astronauts on the moon.

"There's a real risk that China might assert its presence on the moon, claiming territory and excluding others." Nelson remarked. 

He also stressed the need to prevent a scenario where celestial bodies like the moon and Mars become subjects of territorial disputes, echoing similar geopolitical tensions on Earth.

READ NEXT: NASA Picks 3 Companies to Develop New Artemis Moon Rover Designs

Concerns About China's Moon Landing Plans

China is poised to achieve a record 100 orbital missions in 2024, solidifying its position as the world's second-most-active launcher after SpaceX. Beyond this year, the country has already outlined its ambitious goal to land a crewed mission on the moon's south pole by 2030, according to Asia News Network

It's worth noting that Nelson's specific concern regarding the lunar south pole is that it is believed to harbor resources such as water ice, which could be helpful for future exploration and the sustainability of missions on the moon.

The NASA admin warns of the risk of exploiting this area solely for its resources, likening it to a "gas station" where water is converted into rocket fuel. In doing so, he stresses the importance of ensuring fair and equal access to celestial bodies like the moon rather than allowing them to be exploited for individual or national gain.

To address these challenges, NASA has advocated for establishing clear guidelines through the Artemis Accords, a set of principles for peaceful exploration of the moon and beyond. 

While 38 countries have voluntarily signed the accords, China has notably abstained.

READ MORE: 2 Private Companies Aim to Get the US Back to the Moon

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics