Chinese and American Space Scientists to Cooperate on Lunar Astronomy

An agreement has been signed between astronomers and space scientists in China and the U.S. to exchange data and cooperate in using lunar science instruments that will be on Chinese and American spacecraft. Next year, China plans to launch its Chang'e-3 mission, which will land a rover on the Moon. On board will be an ultraviolet telescope, to make astronomical observations from the lunar surface. The National Astronomical Observatories, (NAOC) based in Beijing, is responsible for the instrument, and signed the agreement for sharing data with the Hawaii-based International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA).

In exchange, China's scientists will receive observing time on ILOA's optical telescope, which is planned to also land on the Moon. This is not a NASA project, but one that is part of an international, privately-funded competition to land a robot on the Moon.

Although there are export controls prohibiting the exhange of any space-related hardware between the U.S. and China, and a law prohibiting virtually any kind of discussion about space mission cooperation with NASA, this cooperation will at least bring members of the space science communities in both countries into collaboration.

The policy of not working with China on space is a prime example of what is wrong with the current foreign policy of the United States, and the broader issue of the misdirected nature of international relations and the issue of so-called “defense.” Collaboration around space technology, space development, and planetary defense should be the basis for international collaboration. For more on this, see Mr. LaRouche’s answer to a related question from his Oct. 11th webcast .

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