In a move that many analysts are predicting could have huge ramifications for lunar exploration, China will not take back its former moon, as expected, the Associated Press reported.
The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Sunday that it was unable to confirm whether the moon would be returned to the country because of a legal loophole that allows it to use lunar landings to explore for minerals.
The law in question allows China to use its moon for the sole purpose of extracting minerals, which can then be used for its own development, the AP reported.
While there is some speculation that China could return the moon to Earth in the future, there is no sign of that happening.
It is unclear how many minerals could be mined on the moon if China was to extract them, and that could pose a huge problem for its nascent space program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.