Monday , September 26 2022

NASA and China collaborate on the Moon exploration


Space agencies in the United States and China are coordinating efforts at exploring the Moon, NASA said on Friday, as it navigates through a strict legal framework to protect national security and prevent technology transfer to the China.

"With the required congressional approval, NASA has been discussing with China to explore the possibility of observing the ring lead of its lunar captain, Chang & # 39; e 4, using our instrument of Nautical @NASAMoon, "the associate administrator of NASA for The Management of the scientific mission, Thomas Zurbuchen, wrote on Twitter.

The Zurbuchen tweet confirmed a similar statement made on Monday by the deputy commander of China's Lunar Exploration Program, Wu Yanhua.

NASA shared information about a US satellite, while China told Americans about latitude, longitude, and landing time "in a timely manner," he said.

The hope was that NASA's Lunar Recognition Orbaker (LRO) could observe the historic touchdown of the Chinese crew on January 3.

NASA provided the planned LRO orbit route to China, but it turned out that the spacecraft was not in the right place at the right time.

"For various reasons, NASA could not slow down the LRO orbit at the optimal location during landing, although NASA was still interested in possibly detecting the plume after the" said the agency in a statement.

"Science gathered about how the lunar pole spans up during a spacecraft landing could inform future missions and how they reach the lunar surface."

These observations could help astronauts prepare for future missions on the Moon.

The lunar orbiter of NASA will reach Chang's # 4 destination site on January 31 and capture images, as it did for Chang & # 3 and 2013.

The agency said that the significant findings resulting from the cooperation will be shared with the global research community in February at a United Nations space meeting in Austria.

– Technology transfer risk & # 39; –

Since 2011, the US Congress has banned NASA or the White House Science and Technology Policy Office's "use of federal funds" to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute A bilateral policy, program, order or contract of any kind participate, collaborate or coordinate bilaterally, in any way with China or with any Chinese-owned company. "

The exceptions are possible, but NASA must convince the Congress and the FBI that "activity" does not pose a risk of producing technology, data or other information transfer with implications for national security or economic security in China or a Chinese owned company ".

The clause was inserted into a US spending invoice after a wave of cyber attacks dating back to sources in China.

NASA declared in its Friday statement that "all NASA data associated with this activity are publicly available," and that NASA's cooperation with China "is transparent, reciprocal and mutually beneficial."

Cooperation between China and the United States could extend beyond the current lunar project, according to Wu Weiren, China's lunar exploration program principal designer.

In an interview broadcast on state television CCTV on Sunday, he said that NASA scientists discussed a possible collaboration at an international conference "a few years ago" and that US scientists had asked to extend the life of the satellite · Relay of Queqiao three to five years to facilitate the planning of a Latin American mission.

And why?

"Later, they said, feeling a bit ashamed that they wanted to land in the farthest part of the Moon too, so if we let (our relay satellite) operate longer, they can also use it." he said.

The satellite in question helps with frightening communications on the other side of the Moon.

NASA scientists also argued that it would possibly put a beacon on the Chang & # 4; probe 4, he added.

"If we put a lighthouse there, they also know where to land. I told him that our Changing # 4 can be used as a badge for you in the future," said Wu.

However, US restrictions "could be a much bigger barrier to overcoming" in ambitious cooperation projects such as a lunar research base that "could involve sharing technological information," said Henry Hertzfeld, director of # 39 ; George Washington University Institute of Space Policy;

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