China and the United States have begun to partner with each other on small, science related space programs .
On a recent visit to China for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Beijing, Nasa administrator Charles Bolden took time out to meet with Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The two men talked about practical areas where the two countries can co-operation in future space endeavours.
In a previous visit to China, Bolden was criticized by the usual xenophobic members of congress who are worried that China would steal US technology for military use. To further their paranoia , Congress in 2011 banned the use of federal funds for any collaboration between Nasa and China.
Personally, I believe this is very short sighted. China has spent over 6 Billion USD on manned space programs. Easily outstripping the U.S budget. With a looming decision from NASA in 2014 whether to fund the ISS or the new Orion space program, joint ventures with other countries seems inevitable.
Despite Congress and Politico’s in China, co-operation between China and the U.S. has been going on for years in small, but significant ways.
Nasa provided help with the construction of satellite ground stations for remote sensing. The two countries are also co-operating on space geodesy, which deals with the three-dimensional measurement of the earth.
In an ongoing effort to show its commitment to working together, Bai shared with Bolten some of China’s most advanced space projects, including the world’s first quantum communication satellite.
As long as the political differences remain, there is going to be barriers to cooperation.
“We can’t talk about space science without satellites, and we can’t talk about satellites without military-related technology,” said one anonymous Chinese scientist. “So both sides seem to have a lot of secrets to keep, and that makes co-operation difficult, if not impossible.
“That’s just the narrow mindset of politicians. As scientists, we want to share everything. Co-operation between the two largest economies in the world will only benefit the entire human race.”
Just think of what China and the U.S. could accomplish together. Better yet, China, India, the EU, Russia and anyone else that wanted to advance mankind to the next level.
As a wise man once said…”what a wonderful world.”
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +