NASA head Charles Bolden is currently in Beijing on a six-day visit to discuss the possibility of a joint space program with China. As US space exploration hit a few speed bumps this year, now more than ever seems the right time to play nice with China whose own space program has really taken off (pun intended).
At the end of 2009, Bolden had said Washington was ready to discuss partners space projects with China. Then 2010 saw recession-hit America stall its Constellation mission to return Americans to the Moon and explore Mars because of financial difficulties. In sharp contrast to that, China has enjoyed a fair few successes lately. It smoothly launched Chang’e 2 at the beginning of this month and its space program now ranks third in the world, after the US and Russia.
That being said, space analyst, Morris Jones comments that nothing too exciting is going to be happening at these meetings. “Bolden is there basically just to shake a few hands. It’s the first step in a very long process to get co-operation between the US and China in space flight…[r]elations between the US and China are very bad at the moment for all sorts of political and economic reasons.”
You don’t say. Could it have to do with China callling the US a preening pig?