Russia is turning away from NASA, and says it will work with China on a lunar base

Russia is turning away from NASA, and says it will work with China on a lunar base
Russia is turning away from NASA, and says it will work with China on a lunar base

Simon Stackpool | Sneak Getty Images

The heads of the Chinese and Russian space agencies signed an agreement Tuesday to work together to build a “science” station on the moon.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the two countries will cooperate in establishing an “International Moon Science Station” and plan to invite other countries to participate. The agreement was signed by Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration, and Dmitry Rogozin, president of the Russian space company Roscosmos. The deal was It was declared by Roscosmos.

Details about the project were somewhat sparse, with the specification that countries would work together to create research facilities on the surface and / or in lunar orbit. The goal was to establish long-range unmanned facilities on the moon as well as build capabilities for a human presence there.

China previously revealed its ambitions to build an international lunar station in the south pole of the moon, starting with robotic missions, then followed by short-range human missions in the early 2000s. The country plans to establish a long-term human presence in Antarctica – which is believed to contain massive reserves of water ice – during the period from 2036 to 2045. These plans were initially discussed at the Peace Committee’s Subcommittee meeting on Outer Space Uses last year, and Reported by Space News.

Previously, the European Space Agency had also expressed interest in partnering with China on future missions to the Moon.

The Agreements of Artemis

This latest announcement comes after the United States, in the era of the new President Joe Biden, He certainly carried on It would continue Artemis’ plan to return NASA astronauts and those from partner agencies to the moon sometime in the 1920s. NASA, too, wants to create a lunar base and assess the viability of Antarctic water resources.

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As part of this exploration plan, NASA was founded “Artemis Agreements”, a series of bilateral agreements with space agencies of other countries that wish to join the Artemis program. Basically, partner countries will need to agree to 10 basic rules as part of their space activities, such as operating transparently and issuing scientific data. Many states have already signed up for, With further follow-up expected.

Russia was noticeably absent from signing these agreements. The nation has worked successfully with the United States and other international partners for more than two decades building and operating the International Space Station, in low Earth orbit. Rogozin, however, criticized the Artemis Accords, describing them as “US-centered.”

This latest agreement between Russia and China indicates that the enduring relationship that NASA and Roscosmos have enjoyed for decades may reach a breaking point when it comes to deep space exploration. And while the term “space race” is certainly a cliché, that may nonetheless be what NASA and its partners find with China and Russia when it comes to returning to the moon.

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