Perhaps the most controversial part of the directive was the US’s ambition to build a nuclear power plant on the moon by 2027.
Anthony Calomino, the man responsible for Nasa’s nuclear portfolio, said that the technology being developed will support a sustained lunar presence and, ultimately, the exploration of Mars.
“The ability to produce large amounts of electrical power on planetary surfaces using a fission surface power system would enable large-scale exploration, establishment of human outposts, and utilisation of in-situ resources, while allowing for the possibility of commercialisation,” Mr Calomino said.
However, Beijing is not particularly impressed. An editorial in state-owned tabloid The Global Times said that the nuclear goal showed that the US sought “space supremacy” regardless of the damage and dangers. It quoted Chinese military expert and commentator Song Zhongping as saying that “military purposes are likely to be behind the establishment”.
Exactly how this will fit in with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies – and details legally-binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space, remains unclear. Read from source….