NASA claims China is trying to claim the moon, China says it isn’t

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Ah, Space Race bickering! Doesn’t it feel like 1960 all over again? (We wouldn’t know, we’re not decrepit!) In a new heated argument over our closest space rock, NASA believes that China is attempting to keep the moon for themselves.

NASA claims China wants to take the moon

Via Reuters, China has refused NASA claims that it is attempting to claim and entirety of the moon. With both countries hard at work on rockets to take humans back to the satellite, of tensions are heating back up.

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson made claims that the Chinese space administration is looking to take over the moon. Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Nelson said:

“We must be very concerned that China is landing on the moon and saying: ‘It’s ours now and you stay out’.”

China’s space initiative has ramped up considerably in the past decade. In 2013, the country reached the moon for the first time with an unnamed ship. The country even launched its first space station, Tianggong.

Read More: Commercial spaceflight will warm our planet considerably

China denies the claims

After Nelson’s comments spread, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian came out to shut down the claims. The spokesperson said that Nelson’s comments are simply a smear campaign against the fastly-developing space agency.

“This is not the first time that the head of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has ignored the facts and spoken irresponsibly about China,” they said. “The U.S. side has constantly constructed a smear campaign against China’s normal and reasonable outer space endeavours, and China firmly opposes such irresponsible remarks.”

The spokesperson continued to explain that China’s aim with space travel is the same as NASA’s was decades ago. Instead of conquering the expanse, space travel is about shared discovery.

China’s moon landing currently does not have a set date. However, the country’s historic trip is expected to be sometime this decade. On the other hand, NASA is expected to return to the moon in 2024.