Russia and China just consented to build a research station on the moon together

China and Russia intend to build a lunar research station together.

Leaders of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Roscosmos, Russia’s government space organization, signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday (March 9) on the development of a moon station called the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).

“The ILRS is a comprehensive scientific experiment base with the capability of long-term autonomous operation, built on the lunar surface and/or [in] lunar orbit that will carry out multi-disciplinary and multi-objective scientific research activities such as lunar exploration and utilization, lunar-based observation, basic scientific experiment[s] and technical verification,” CNSA officials wrote in an announcement Tuesday.

CNSA and Roscosmos will “facilitate extensive cooperation in the ILRS, open to all interested countries and international partners, strengthen scientific research exchanges, and promote humanity’s exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purpose[s],” officials added.

The CNSA declaration didn’t give a targeted timeline for the lunar research station, nor did a comparable release put out by Roscosmos.

The United States is working on its own ambitious moon push with NASA’s Artemis program. On the off chance that all works out as expected, Artemis will send space travelers to the lunar surface during the 2020s and build up a long haul, economical human presence nearby the moon before the decade’s over. NASA trusts that such work will assist it with getting astronauts to Mars during the 2030s, office authorities have said.

NASA isn’t going it single-handedly with Artemis. The organization has inked manages various accomplices in the private sector, and eight different countries have signed the Artemis Accords, clearing the way for their participation in the program. (A 10th nation, Brazil, has demonstrated that it expects to sign the Accords too.)

Russia and China are not among the signatories. Russia has worked widely with the United States in space, most prominently on the International Space Station program, however Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin as of late said that the country is probably not going to be an Artemis partner.

China can’t take part significantly in the NASA moon push, at least not without new U.S. legislation. Since 2011, NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy have been denied from participating on space projects with their Chinese partners, except if Congress favors such collaboration ahead of time.

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