China’s Ambitions to Explore the Moon and the Prospects for Lunar Governance

Though China has arguably the world’s most dynamic lunar exploration programme, it is only one of several countries with ambitious plans to visit the Moon. Over the next decade, numerous international missions are expected to land at just a handful of small sites on the lunar surface, a clustering of activity that portends crowding and interference problems. These challenges in view, several countries are leading efforts to develop international governance institutions and mechanisms to manage activities at these lunar sites. China’s role in these efforts may prove pivotal. In this talk, an astrophysicist and a political scientist discuss China’s lunar exploration plans and how they intersect with the prospects for lunar governance.

Dr Martin Elvis is an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian. He has published nearly 500 papers on supermassive black holes that have been cited over 38,000 times. He publishes widely on asteroid and lunar resources and the space economy. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Member of the Aspen Center for Physics, and is past-Chair of the Hubble Space Telescope Users’ Committee and of the High Energy Division of the American Astronomical Society. Asteroid 9283 Martinelvis is named after him. His book Asteroids: How Love, Fear, and Greed will
Determine our Future in Space was published by Yale University Press in 2021.

Dr Alanna Krolikowski is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), where she specializes in policy for science, technology, and innovation. Her research and teaching focus on policy for space activities, the Chinese and US innovation systems, and China’s foreign relations. Before joining Missouri S&T, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and a visiting professor at the University of Göttingen.