America's 2 Biggest Rivals Are Building a Lunar Base

China, Russia say they will 'conduct close interaction' on scientific base
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2021 3:08 PM CST
China, Russia Team Up to Build Moon Base
In this Nov. 24, 2020 photo, a Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang'e 5 lunar mission lifts off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang in southern China's Hainan Province.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

China and Russia are gearing up to become America's biggest rivals on the moon as well as the Earth. China's National Space Agency and Russia's Roscomos agency have announced plans to jointly build a lunar research station, the BBC reports. "China and Russia will use their accumulated experience in space science, research and development, and use of space equipment and space technology to jointly develop a road map for the construction of an international lunar scientific research station," which will be built "on the lunar surface and/or in the lunar orbit," the Chinese agency said in a statement. Roscosmos said the two countries would "conduct close interaction" in the planning, construction, and operation of the lunar station.

"This will be the largest international space cooperation project for China, so it’s significant," says Chen Lan, an expert on China's space program, per the Guardian. The Chinese agency said the project will be "open to all interested countries and international partners," though the US is moving forward with lunar plans of its own. Under the Trump administration, NASA announced plans to put "the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024," but the target date may be pushed back under President Biden, NPR reports. Russia has cooperated with the US and other countries in space for decades, but it did not sign onto the Artemis Accords for lunar conduct that NASA released last fall. (China planted its flag on the moon in December.)

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