The US and China may face each other on the moon as well, if they both decide to launch spacecraft at the same location near the moon’s south pole.
According to SpaceNews, NASA and China’s space agency have identified several common landing fields for their respective lunar missions — Artemis 3, NASA’s first manned mission to the lunar surface, and China’s Chang’e7 Mars rover. Among them are Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters.
Both agencies prioritized these sites for the following reasons: high ground, good lighting conditions, and proximity to craters that may contain water ice.
It is not yet clear how the two countries plan to allocate space for the missions that will be launched very soon — in 2025 (US) and 2024 (China).
As SpaceNews reports, when it comes to space negotiations with China, the US is bound by the “Wolf Amendment,” a document passed in 2011 by then-Rep.
Despite the fact that Obama and Trump tried to negotiate with China on space, the real result did not come in either case. According to the report, the Biden administration does not intend to resume any type of negotiations on these issues at this stage.
“It’s no wonder why both countries want the same place on the moon,” said space law professor Christopher Neumann. “It’s great real estate on the moon to use local resources.”
“This may be the first potential conflict for resources beyond Earth,” he added.
Neumann also notes that since the two sides have signed a space agreement, at least in theory, “they should be able to use their spaceships or other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes.”
It’s interesting how things will develop,” said Neumann. “A lot depends on who will be the first to reach the moon.”