China is ramping up its national space industry with huge investments in next-generation technologies that promise to transform military, economic, and political realities. Against this backdrop, we ask: Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity? Could it drive innovation, rally public support for science and discovery, and launch humans into the next generation? Or would this competition catalyze an expensive global arms race, militarize space for decades to come, and destroy any hope of international peace and cohesion in the future?
- Like during the Cold War, a new space race would spur scientific advancement and collaboration that transforms life on Earth and beyond.
- Competition with China would compel the United States to invest in its alliances, both with industry and other nations. This will expand the U.S. workforce, bolster developing programs in nations like India, and help fuel innovative space start-ups.
- With public support for NASA waning, a new space race is necessary to rally sentiments and ensure the United States can stay competitive in the next frontier.
- Comparisons to the 20th-century space race are misguided. Rather than putting a man on the Moon, this round would lead to the militarization of space and put us all at risk.
- Competition would only fuel China's military ambitions and give countries – including Russia, Iran, and North Korea – political cover to focus their own programs on space defense rather than seeking more peaceful uses of space.
- The future of space development and travel should be in the hands of international governing bodies, not individual states. A space race will undermine existing international cooperation.