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NASA Proposes Space Cooperation with China on Lunar Missions

Jan. 19, 2019 (EIRNS)—In a statement yesterday, NASA has proposed areas of cooperation with China on lunar exploration, Xinhua reported. The article reports that NASA has held discussions with counterparts in the China National Space Administration over the past month “to explore the possibility of observing a signature of the landing plume” of Chang’e-4, similar to what it had done for the Chang’e-3 landing. This refers to how lunar dust is ejected upward when a spacecraft lands, which could inform future missions, NASA said in the statement.

NASA also said its scientists had been exchanging, collecting, and analyzing data with the Chinese team in order to have the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter go over the Chang’e-4 site to take high-definition pictures. LRO will be in the right position to do that on Jan. 31. The photos would be very useful to the Chang’e-4 team.

NASA emphasized that the cooperation on lunar research would have to be “transparent, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial.” (It is not clear if they had to get permission or a waiver from the White House, as under the Wolf Amendment.)

The two sides also agreed that any significant findings from the cooperation would be shared with the global research community next month at the Vienna meeting of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

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