News / Science & Technology

US and China May Cooperate in Space Exploration

George Putic
Space exploration officials from more than 30 countries met in Washington, D.C. recently to discuss how to advance the exploration and utilization of space. The meeting was organized by the U.S. State Department which, for the first time, invited officials from China's space agency, highlighting the possibility of cooperation in space exploration.
 
Cooperation between the U.S. space agency, NASA, and China's space agency was banned by Congress in 2011. However, signs are emerging that this policy may change.
 
At the International Space Exploration Forum, held January 9, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns invited all countries to participate in space exploration.
 
“Now is the time to come together to make space exploration a shared global priority, to unlock the mysteries of the universe, and to accelerate human progress here on Earth,” said Burns.
 
Xu Dazhe, head of the China's National Space Administration, attended the meeting. China Daily quoted Dazhe as saying his participation was a signal that China is willing to cooperate with other countries in exploring space. 
 
Scott Pace, who heads the Space Policy Institute and is a professor of international affairs at George Washington University, said the Chinese were specifically invited to be part of the international discussion, but warned against excessive optimism.
 
“There really hasn’t been a political breakthrough that would then lead to large, symbolic, direct cooperative activity. There are, however a number of small opportunities that I think we can and should be able to pursue,” said Pace.
 
Pace pointed out that during the Cold War, the U.S. cooperated with the Soviet Union on some aspects of space exploration.
 
“It was in very specific scientific areas: earth science, solar physics, some biometrical data. And I think similar levels of cooperation can certainly occur with China today, and probably should,” Pace continued.
 
Also present at the meeting were countries not usually associated with space exploration - like Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
 
Pace said many countries use space for practical purposes, such as navigation or communications, but they should now be more ambitious.
 
“The moon is emerging, I think, as a consensus technical focus, because it provides opportunities for countries at all levels of space development - from the very largest to very modest,” said Pace.
 
Because the Space Station is an international facility and its operational life has been extended until 2024, Pace said China may be invited to participate in experiments on board.
 
The next place where one might see cooperation with China would be on the moon, given that missions to Mars or asteroids are too difficult and expensive, even for the U.S. and Russia.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs