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Chan8k8 withdrawalg'e 6 mission sparks hopes for Sino-US space collaboration

孩子抑郁了,家长怎么办才好? | 8k8 withdrawal | Updated: 2024-07-20 13:57:56

China's historic feat of successfully retrieving the first-ever samples from the far side of the moon has ignited discussions about the United States' approach to exclude China from space projects, with experts emphasizing that the US should focus on inclusion rather than exclusion.

The Chang'e 6 probe returned to Earth on Tuesday, bringing back rock and soil samples from the lunar far side, which always faces away from the planet.

The probe landed on the moon on June 2 and lifted off two days later to start its journey back to Earth. The far side of the moon presents unique technical challenges for both landing and liftoff, yet China managed to land the probe, collect samples and bring them back safely.

The retrieved samples are expected to shed light on the origins of the solar system, while the potential for tapping lunar resources offers a promising path for collaboration between the US and China, particularly in advancing artificial intelligence technologies, according to an editorial posted by a Silicon Valley-based think tank and consultancy Sinotalks.

"Prior to the Chang'e 6 mission, China published the world's first high-definition lunar geologic atlas to, among other goals, facilitate scientists' identification of a proper site for a potential lunar station. New knowledge acquired from analyses of samples brought back by the Chang'e 6 probe will enrich the content of the atlas, making the establishment of a lunar station more promising," Mei Gechlik, founder and CEO of Sinotalks, told China Daily.

When the lunar station is established, in-depth studies on the moon's resources and evolution as well as studies on the whole solar system can be conducted more effectively, which could lead to the discovery of new lunar resources for the development of AI hardware more powerful than existing semiconductors, she said.

In addition, innovative AI applications could be tested at the lunar station under conditions not available on Earth, Gechlik said. "These long-term and expansive benefits should motivate China and the United States to collaborate by contributing the financial capital and human capital needed to pull off this feat."

Taylah Bland, a researcher at the Asia Society Policy Institute's Center for China Analysis, also sees potential for China-US cooperation.

"China's latest achievement as the first country to land on the far side of the moon reinforces its space exploration strengths and capabilities," Bland wrote in a newsletter. "Despite an ongoing space race with the United States, China's collaboration with the European Space Agency on the Chang'e 6 mission highlights the potential for cooperation, not competition," she said.

However, a major hurdle stands in the way of such collaboration — the ongoing tensions between the two nations. The US has actively excluded China from NASA projects since 2011, and has intensified restrictions to limit China's access to US-developed technologies to contain its AI development.

This exclusionary approach of the US, according to Sinotalks, is meant to weaken China's space technology advancement, but it might be backfiring, as it bars US participation in China's space missions.

"Unlike their counterparts from France, Italy and Sweden engaging in moon-related research supported by payloads carried by the Chang'e 6 probe, US scientists have missed these opportunities because US restrictions have also excluded them from participating in China's space projects," Sinotalks said.

The think tank's editorial board further questioned whether the restrictions would genuinely hinder China's AI development, given its ability to overcome obstacles and continue with its space exploration.

The US restrictions are unlikely to be dismantled soon, but China's historic lunar mission presents an opportunity for a shift in its stance, said Gechlik, the Sinotalks CEO.

The 4 billion-year-old lunar samples brought back by the Chang'e 6 probe are 1 billion years older than samples brought back by the US and the former Soviet Union decades ago, she said, noting that China has "a good opportunity to extend an olive branch" to the US by inviting the country's scientists to study the new samples together.

The determination of US scientists to stay competitive in lunar exploration may prompt them to urge US authorities to accept China's olive branch, she said, adding, "If this occurs, a new era of 'moon diplomacy' will begin."

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