The United States and China almost simultaneously named possible landing sites for their monthly missions. Whether this will mean increased confrontation or possible cooperation is still unknown. Ahead of the reduction by both countries of the list of potential landing sites.
Sites for landing on the Moon
Amid NASA’s ongoing attempts to launch the Artemis I mission, disputes between the US and China over manned missions to the Moon have escalated. In the second half of August, the American Space Agency announced 13 possible landing sites near the south pole of our natural satellite.
But almost simultaneously, an article appeared in a Chinese scientific journal, the authors of which are the head of the Chang’e-4 mission, Zhang He, and other leading scientists. In it, they announced 10 potential sites for the landing of the Chang’e-7 mission, which will take place in 2024. And some of these sites overlap with those named by NASA.
Chang’e-7 will be a great unmanned mission. It consists of an orbiter, a repeater satellite, a landing platform, a lunar rover and an aircraft designed to search for water. NASA plans to land the first people on the surface of the moon in 2025.
Possible disputes and cooperation
There is nothing surprising in the fact that all possible landing sites of both countries are grouped around three craters: Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile. It is in these places that there is the greatest chance of finding volatile substances and, first of all, water ice. Therefore, these landing sites are the most valuable on the moon.
The announcement of these plans may mean both the beginning of rivalry between the two countries and possible cooperation. However, it is very difficult to implement the latter NASA because of the Wolf Amendment in 2011.
In 2015, the Obama administration launched a US-China dialogue on peaceful cooperation in space. For some time, this commission worked under the Trump presidency, but its last meeting was held in 2017. No plans to continue its work were announced.
How do the Chinese choose their landing sites?
Currently, both the Americans and the Chinese refuse to comment on their choice of landing sites. It is known that closer to the start of the manned mission, NASA will announce a reduction in the list of landing sites. It is not known whether China will do the same.
The landing site of Chang’e-5, which brought rock samples from the Moon in 2020, was known several years before. But this happened mainly because of the unsuccessful launch of 2017, during which this information was disclosed.
The landing site of the Chang’e-4 was approximately known a year before the start of the mission. But the fact that its target will be the Von Karman crater, the public learned immediately before the launch. Therefore, so far there is more uncertainty in the sino-american disputes over the Moon than there is readiness to resolve the matter in a civilized manner.
According to spacenews .com
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