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The US and China Must Cooperate in Space

Summary:
Although the United States and China will likely remain at odds on many issues, President Joe Biden’s administration must also recognize those areas where cooperation is in America’s best interest. Global threats like pandemics and climate change are obvious examples; setting norms for commercial activities in space is another. WASHINGTON, DC – America and China should cooperate in space. Although the United States can no longer take its extraterrestrial dominance for granted, it remains the leading player, while China’s space capabilities are growing fast. Most important, both countries, along with the rest of the world, would benefit from a set of clear rules governing the exploration and commercialization of

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Although the United States and China will likely remain at odds on many issues, President Joe Biden’s administration must also recognize those areas where cooperation is in America’s best interest. Global threats like pandemics and climate change are obvious examples; setting norms for commercial activities in space is another.

WASHINGTON, DC – America and China should cooperate in space. Although the United States can no longer take its extraterrestrial dominance for granted, it remains the leading player, while China’s space capabilities are growing fast. Most important, both countries, along with the rest of the world, would benefit from a set of clear rules governing the exploration and commercialization of space.

China made history in 2019 by becoming the first country to land a probe on the far side of the Moon. It continues to notch up impressive achievements, most recently its Chang’e-5 mission to retrieve lunar samples. Former US President Donald Trump also took an active interest in space, announcing that America would return astronauts to the Moon by 2024 and creating the Space Force as the newest branch of the US military.

The next phase of competition in space will be to establish a mining base on the Moon. Lunar mining is important for two reasons. First, ice on the moon’s surface can be converted into hydrogen and oxygen and used as rocket fuel, which is crucial for deep-space missions.

The second reason is closer to home: the moon’s surface contains highly valuable rare-earth metals that are used in technologies like cellphones, batteries, and...

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