As more and more countries are planning to begin their space missions, here comes the real conflict, and we will likely have to deal with it anytime soon. We all know that the US and China are scheduling to roll out their lunar rockets to go to the moon, but in a bizarre occurrence, it has been reported that both countries might be selecting similar points for the landing of their rockets on the moon. The most probable location chosen for this strange interaction is the Moon’s south pole, which includes sites like Shackleton, Haworth, and Nobile craters.
It has to be noted that NASA is going to launch its Artemis 3 (the first crewed mission to the moon) while China is fortifying for the “Chang’e 7 lunar rover mission” in the years 2025 and 2024 respectively. However, the reason behind pinpointing these locations is their feasibility including high elevation, good lighting conditions, and proximity to shadowed craters as reported by SpaceNews. Due to this, these craters would then be able to confine the moon’s water-ice.
Also, the US is not really on good terms with China regarding the space talks and the reason can be proved by its “Wolf amendment” clause that was introduced by the then Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) in 2011. It states that NASA is strictly prohibited to work with China on missions related to space. Hence, that further eliminates the need for any fruitful talks between the two. Also, if we go back in time, both ex-presidents of the US i.e., Barack Obama and Donald Trump initiated discussions with China on that matter but all in vain. Similarly, seeing the current scenario, Bidden is also limiting the interactions, as per the report.
On the other hand, space and law policy professor Christopher Newman, said, “It is not hard to see why they both want the same spots. It is prime lunar real estate for in-situ resource utilization. This could be the first potential point of conflict over resources beyond Earth.” US and China, however, accepted the “Outer Space Treaty” and hence, according to Newman, “Both should accept the use of celestial bodies for peaceful purposes. It will be interesting to see what happens. A lot will depend on who gets there first.”