NASA chief has warned China could attempt to seize control of the moon as the space race heats up.
The mysterious nation will set up a research station on the lunar surface in the next few years as part of huge space plans.
And the US seems to be getting nervous about it.
Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson has said we should be cautious about China’s ambitions.
In conversation with the German newspaper picturehe said: “We have to be very concerned that China will land on the moon and say, ‘It’s ours now and you stay out.'”
China hit back, accusing Nasa chief of “lying through the teeth”.
Escalating tensions come after China already accomplished the difficult feat of landing on the far side of the moon.
The country has also accelerated work on a lunar research base by eight years – in cooperation with Russia.
However, experts have warned that there is no reason to panic about China’s intentions.
Professors Svetla Ben-Itzhak and R. Lincoln Hines say it’s unlikely any country could simply take over the moon in the near future.
“Not only is it illegal, it is technologically daunting – the cost of such an endeavor would be extremely high, while the potential payouts would be uncertain,” they wrote The conversation.
According to an international outer space law signed by China and 133 other countries in 1967, “outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall not be subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by use or occupation, or by any other means.”
But China and other visitors could seek de facto control of strategically important areas.
This could include lunar craters, which are home to plenty of water ice, essential for any people who ultimately wish to house them there.
“With an area of nearly 14.6 million square miles (39 million square kilometers) — or nearly five times the area of Australia — any control of the moon would be temporary and localized,” the experts continue.
“Securing and enforcing control of strategic lunar areas would require significant financial investments and long-term efforts.
“And no country could do that without everyone noticing.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9117245/nasa-china-moon-takeover/ China plans to ‘take over the moon’, Nasa chief warns as race to build first lunar base heats up