NASA boss warns: China could try to grab the Moon

The space race was played out, for a time, between the United States and the USSR, before the latter, knocked out after the lead she had taken, end up having to throw in the towel. The competition for the Moon has however resumed for Washington and NASA, but against another, perhaps more formidable adversary: ​​China.

In an interview given to Politicothe administrator of the American space agency did not mince words about the perhaps bitter battle that awaits his troops above our heads. “We must be vigilant”believes Bill Nelson: according to him, China could try to “seize” of certain areas of the Moon in order to exploit its riches.

Because while the United States launched the Artemis program to set out again to conquer our natural satellite – with a first mission and the launch of a new giant rocket described as first successes – China is not letting itself be counted.

Her Tiangong space station is now assembled, functional and inhabited, and the Middle Kingdom is also aiming for the Moon. He multiplies the unmanned missions and discovered many valuable minerals and resources the exploitation of which could give a decisive advantage to the nation which succeeds in it.

Washington is looking for the initials ofa maximum of signatories for its Artemis agreements, who are trying to organize, in peace and international cooperation, the next stages of the lunar conquest. But Beijing is not a signatory and has perhaps more aggressive and less shared views on the soil of our satellite, towards which a new gold rush is embarking.

Mining the moon, they don’t fear

“It’s a fact: we are in a space race”says Bill Nelson, himself a former astronaut and senator from Floridaat Politico. “It is true that we had better check that [la Chine] does not seize a part of the Moon under the pretext of scientific research. It is not totally impossible that they then tell us ‘Go away, we are here, this is our territory’”he continues, detailing a scenario familiar to those who watched the awesome series For All Mankind.

For USA as for Chinathe program is clear: send humans back to the Moon within a few years, to set up permanent bases there for research purposes, but also probably for mining: from these colonies, where much-needed resources could be tapped and new materials built on site, perhaps depends on the rest of the space race, namely the conquest of Mars.

But get your hands on the lunar ground could also upset the geopolitical future on Earth. China like the others are particularly interested in helium-3an ingredient rather rare on Earth but more abundant on the Moon and which could become the ideal fuel for nuclear fusionthis energy grail behind which the planet runs.

Although Beijing reacted to the words held by the NASA Administrator calling them “fantasy”and reaffirming the sole scientific objective of sending his taikonauts to the Moon, Bill Nelson relies on the concrete and terrestrial example of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands.

China leads indeed an aggressive policy of territorial conquesteven growing bits of land from scratch or building military bases there to assert its domination over a contested area. According to Bill Nelson, the next few years will be crucial in this race for the Moon, and NASA has no room for error.

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