Bill Nelson, the administrator of the American space agency NASA, said that America will beat China in the race to reach the Moon. Nelson said in an interview with Japan’s Nikkei, “There are very few countries that don’t want to be our partners. China is one of them. China has always been very secretive.”
He explained China’s secrecy by underlining its reluctance to share trajectory data about falling rocket debris, which poses a serious threat to populated areas on the ground. Earlier, Nelson had accused China of plotting to ‘hijack’ the moon as part of its military programme.
Meanwhile, NASA is currently monitoring its unmanned Artemis 1 mission, which is on its final day on December 11 and, if successful, will lead to future crewed missions to the Moon.
Last full day in space for @NASA_Orion, Tomorrow #artemis I come to close after an exciting 25.5 days. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m excited to see Orion in the well deck of the @USNavy ship. Live coverage of splashdown starts on https://t.co/olv5xmI6z8 at 11AM ET tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/ubzIOCkfPW
— Jim Free (@JimFree) December 10, 2022
“If our program is successful, and our commercial lander is successful, I think we’ll be able to get there in 2025, maybe 2026,” the NASA chief said.
So far, China has had immense success with its lunar missions, as it has managed to land a rover on the far side of the Moon and have also taken soil samples from the Moon. While Nelson sees China as competition. He said that Japan is considered one of the most important partners of America. NASA has also signed an agreement with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to launch and land a Japanese astronaut on the Moon.
We & Japan agreed to the details of contributions to the @NASA_Gatewayincluding sending a @JAXA_en Astronaut to the station and a Japanese cargo mission.
During the event, Japan also announced its extension of @Space_Station participation through 2030: https://t.co/MsOtDHrBfE pic.twitter.com/XPm4F4Dv6F
— NASA Artemis (@NASAArtemis) November 18, 2022
Cooperation with Russia on ISS ‘extremely professional’
NASA chief says the US space agency’s cooperation in outer space with Russia remains ‘extremely professional’ despite the Ukraine crisis. Nelson was referring to NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos’ collaboration on the International Space Station (ISS), which is jointly managed by the US and Russia, as well as Europe, Canada and Japan.
Nelson said, “the war in Ukraine changed everything on the ground”. It certainly strengthens Europe against Russia, but it’s not going to replace cooperation on the International Space Station. This collaboration continues. It is very professional.” Let us tell you that there are currently 7 astronauts living on the space station, out of which 3 are Russian, one from Japan and 3 from America.
Most recently, Dmitry Rogozin, former director general of Roscosmos, threatened to end his participation on the ISS because of the war in Ukraine. The head of the new agency, Yuri Borisov, also agreed, who said Moscow would withdraw from the orbital outpost in 2024. However, Roscosmos later agreed to stay until 2028.
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