After bringing new samples of the lunar surface for the first time since 1976, the Chinese say they will share some of the material with scientists from around the world, including those from the United States – but in this case, only after American legislation that this prevents this country collapsing to cooperate with China on space activities.
The statement came from Wu Yanhua, deputy director of China’s Space Agency (CNSA), as he presented the results of the Chang’e-5 mission, which went to the moon over 23 days, landed, took samples, took off, drive first automatic docking in the lunar orbit in the history of space exploration and send a capsule with about two kilos of lunar rock, which is securely packaged, back to earth on December 16
Far from being a free sucker, it was a response to American provocation. On November 23rd, NASA sent the following message (via the American space agency) via its Twitter profile: “With Chang’e-5, China started an initiative to collect lunar samples together with the USA and the former Soviet Union. We hope that China will share its data with the global scientific community to improve our understanding of the moon, as did our Apollo missions and the Artemis program. “
In fact, samples of lunar rocks collected under the Apollo program have been distributed to scientists from around the world, including those in the Soviet Union, and there was an exchange of materials at the time. At a time of acute international tension, when a misstep could exacerbate the Cold War and lead to a global nuclear conflict, cooperation in space was an essential tool for reducing and reducing tensions. The process culminated in the creation of the International Space Station, which today brings together the US, Russia, Canada, Japan and European countries. But it is a component that is still sorely lacking in US-China relations.
The Americans hesitate in this case. Since 2011, the US Congress has included provisions in its budgetary legislation for NASA that exclude cooperation in space with China. The logic is based on the assumption (with the purest Yankee taste) that the country shouldn’t even tangentially aid a potential adversary in developing its space technology.
The speech is getting dated, however, as the Chinese turn out not to be a country developing in space, but a nation already showing itself to be on an equal footing in many ways – as was the case with the former USSR in the world of Kalter War.
China emphasizes that cooperation depends only on the US government. And it is time Americans made a gesture of goodwill, even if there is a need to ease the tensions between the two powers that are being heightened by the pandemic and the controversial Trump administration that is now coming to an end . The whole world would feel relieved – when American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts met in space in 1975 on the Apollo Soyuz mission.
This column is published in Folha Corrida on Mondays.
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