Russian space agency says Trump paving way to seize other planets

File photo. A view of the C-Space Project, a Mars simulation base in the Gobi Desert in Jinchang, Gansu Province, China, 16 April 2019. The C-Space Project Mars Base opened officially on 17 April 2019 with the aim to educate and provide an environment for youths and tourists to experience life on planet Mars. [How Hwee Young/EPA/EFE]

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, accused Donald Trump on Tuesday (7 April) of creating a basis to take over other planets by signing an executive order outlining US policy on commercial mining in space.

The executive order, which Roscosmos said damaged the scope for international cooperation in space, was signed on Monday.

It said the United States would seek to negotiate “joint statements and bilateral and multilateral arrangements with foreign states regarding safe and sustainable operations for the public and private recovery and use of space resources”.

It said US citizens should have the right to engage in such activity and that “outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons”.

Roscosmos said the order put the United States at odds with the notion of space belonging to all humanity.

“Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually seize territories of other planets hardly set the countries (on course for) fruitful cooperation,” its statement said.

Relations between Russia and the United States are at post-Cold War lows, but cooperation on space has continued despite an array of differences over everything from Ukraine to accusations of election meddling.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “any kind of attempt to privatise space in one form or another – and I find it difficult to say now whether this can be seen as an attempt to privatise space – would be unacceptable”.

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