NASA recently announced its selection of potential landing sites on the lunar south pole for its Artemis 3 mission that will bring humans back to the surface of the Moon.
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The thirteen potential landing sites are spread over various regions of the Moon’s south pole, and the problem that has arisen is that the Chinese space agency has also selected many landing sites. The overlapping landing locations have raised important questions about how competing space agencies/nations will coordinate their respective missions with the resource division.
The reason for this overlap is that the two space agencies select locations that have high altitude, good lighting conditions for mission activities by humans, and their location relatively close to permanently shadowed craters that would contain ice. of water. Christopher Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University in the UK, spoke with SpaceNews and said the overlapping lunar landing sites present a real opportunity for collaboration between China and the United States, which would demonstrate that space exploration is more than geopolitical in nature.
Additionally, Newman said it’s no surprise that the two space agencies chose similar landing sites, as the landing sites are “prime lunar real estate for the utilization of inland resources.” if you”. Newman added that this new puzzle could be the first “point of potential conflict over resources beyond Earth.”
“However, in reality, it’s not hard to see why they both want the same places. It is prime lunar real estate for in situ resource utilization. This could be the first point of potential conflict over resources beyond Earth. Both sides are signatories to the Outer Space Treaty and therefore theoretically accept the use of celestial bodies for peaceful purposes, but it will be interesting to see what happens. Much will depend on who gets there first. This could add an element of unwanted competition that threatens security both in space and on Earth,“, Newman said.
At this time, it is unclear how NASA and the China National Space Administration will determine overlapping landing locations, but as the two nations move closer to crewed missions on the lunar surface, a discussion will likely be forced. take place. NASA has some time before putting Americans back on the surface of the Moon, as the space agency must complete Artemis 1 and Artemis 2 before Artemis 3 can launch in 2025.
Artemis 1 is NASA’s top priority right now, and unfortunately the space agency had to postpone the launch of the Artemis 1 Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that was supposed to take place this weekend. The friction from the launch was attributed to a fuel leak that could not be repaired in time. Assessments are currently underway on the malfunction. Read more about this story below.