In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Bill Nelson accuses Beijing of developing a space program with military objectives.
The director of NASA, the US space agency, warned in an interview with the German newspaper Bild that China’s plan to build a base on the Moon in collaboration with Russia could be the first step for Beijing to “take hold” of the natural satellite. from the earth.
“We should be very concerned that China will land on the moon and then say: now it’s ours and you’re out,” Bill Nelson said in the interview, published on Saturday.
According to the head of the US space agency, a new space race is underway with the Moon as a destination, “this time with China” as an adversary. The United States plans a trip to the moon by 2025, which will include a woman for the first time. The Chinese government’s more ambitious plan, on the other hand, contemplates the construction of a lunar base that will be operational in 2035.
Bill Nelson envisions a race to control the Moon’s south pole, where there will be deposits of water that could be used to make rocket fuel.
When asked by the German tabloid about the purpose of China’s presence in space, the NASA director angrily replied: “Well, what do you think is happening on the Chinese space station? They are learning to destroy other people’s satellites!”
According to Nelson, China has been developing technology for several years to “grab” satellites with robotic arms and nets or to cause them to fall, supposedly to clean up its own space debris. “But the technology can also be used to attack satellites in other countries,” he said.
The head of NASA emphasized that “China’s space program is a military space program” and once again denounced the technology theft that boosted Beijing’s space program. “China is good. But China is also good because it steals ideas and technology from others,” Nelson accused.
The last time a human being walked on the Moon was in December 1972, at the foot of American astronaut Gene Cernan, one of the members of Apollo 17, the last manned lunar mission to date.
For the return to the moon, NASA is developing the Artemis program in collaboration with ESA, the European space agency, with the aim of landing on the satellite’s south pole in 2025. The first mission, Artemis 1, which will be unmanned, is scheduled for August this year with the launch of the Orion rocket. The spacecraft will spend approximately three weeks in space, including six days in the retrograde orbit of the Moon.
It will be followed by the Artemis 2 mission, already manned and scheduled for May 2024, which will make a pass by the Moon and then return to Earth. It will be the first manned spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Source: With Agencies