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NASA’s Chief Expresses Concern Over China Seizing Real Estate On The Moon 

NASA administrator Bill Nelson recently spoke to Yahoo Finance regarding the modern day space race, and how China is set to beat the United States in their bids to get back on the moon. 

One of the reasons Nelson is so worried is because China is already preparing a series of missions to go to the moon. This week, China is planning to launch a robotic spacecraft to the side of the moon facing away from Earth. 

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The spacecraft, named Chang’e-6, will launch in what will be the first of three missions that are set to take place over the next four years. These missions could lead to China setting up a manned base on the moon’s south pole, where it is also suspected to have water. 

Nelson said that these plans show China’s lead in the modern space race. 

“I think it’s not beyond the pale that China would suddenly say, ‘We are here. You stay out.’ That would be very unfortunate — to take what has gone on on planet Earth for years, grabbing territory, and saying it’s mine and people fighting over it.”

The US has also pushed back on its Artemis program, which has the goal of bringing astronauts back into lunar orbit for the first time in 50 years. 

The program was delayed to test equipment and troubleshoot a handful of technical difficulties that they experienced during its first mission, according to Quartz. Now, NASA is expecting to launch the Artemis program and land astronauts near the south pole of the Moon by September 2026. The specific launch will be a part of the Artemis III mission.

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Nelson once told reporters that he has concerns that China will claim the water sources on the moon, “as they have done with the Spratly Islands.” The Spratly Islands are an archipelago in the South China Sea that has seen a lot of political disputes between several of its surrounding nations, according to reports

“When you combine [China’s] history of their politics on Planet Earth, we just need to be careful that a celestial body such as the moon, such as Mars, is open for all, and it doesn’t become a territorial grabbing. That’s what we want to avoid,” Nelson told Yahoo Finance

China is currently planning to have a crewed moon landing by 2030, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), who announced the goal last year. 

Nelson stated that the US would “preserve those potential reserves for the international community.” The water could potentially be used for rocket fuel. 

NASA and the Department of State introduced the Artemis Accords in 2020, which guarantees cooperation and collaboration between nations regarding the information and resources utilized for future lunar missions. 39 countries have signed the accords, however, China is not one of them.