If the United States is defeated on the surface of the Moon, China will be able to claim the Moon as its own territory, the NASA chief said.

Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator.Paul Hennessy/Sofa Images/Light Rocket via Getty Images

  • NASA chief Bill Nelson has said that China can claim the moon as its own territory.

  • He told Politico that Chinese aggression in the South China Sea is a sign of what could happen on the moon.

  • Nelson said China has seen “tremendous success and progress” in its space program.

China can claim the moon as its own territory if it beats the US in the race to the moon, the NASA chief has said.

In a policy interview published Sunday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Chinese military expansion in the South China Sea was an indicator of what would happen on the moon.

Nelson said: “It’s a fact: we’re in a space race. We’d better make sure they don’t go to a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research. It’s not beyond. The limit of the possible where they say: ‘Stay over there, we’re here, this is our territory.’

“If you doubt that, look at what they did to the Spratly Islands. »

Recently released aerial photos show new military installations in the Spratly Islands, a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea.

NASA completed the Mission Artemis 1 In November, the unmanned Orion spacecraft will fly around the moon. A pre-mission on Artemis 3, which aims to land astronauts on the lunar surface by 2025.

China He has just completed his new space station. Tiangong, and in November a group of tyconauts launched against the station. Beijing plans to launch Three Trips to the Moon as part of its next-decade Chang’e Lunar Project, it said it has discovered a new lunar mineral that could be used as an energy source.

Nelson told Politico that China has had “tremendous success and progress” in its space program over the past decade.

NASA is working with Elon Musk’s SpaceX on the Artemis 3 mission. Nelson told Politico: “I ask the question every day, ‘How is SpaceX progressing?’ All of our leaders tell me that they respect every move they make. »

NASA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, which was made outside normal US business hours.

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