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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs