NASA administrator Michael Griffin wrote in a draft statement to Congress that China is emerging as the United States' chief rival in space, and could be ready to land on the moon before the U.S.' next attempt, according to a new report.
But Griffin's statement was heavily edited by budget officials before it ever reached Congress, revealing a much less dire report, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The original statement was reportedly leaked over e-mail. In it, Griffin expressed grave concerns over the future of NASA and warned of China's quick emergence as its new rival.
"A Chinese landing on the moon prior to our own return will create a stark perception that the U.S. lags behind not only Russia, but also China, in space," the administrator wrote in the original draft, the paper reported.
Griffin reportedly accused the White House Office of Management and Budget of doing "everything possible" to abandon the $100 billion international space station.
Griffin — a well-respected administrator in the space community — later rescinded most of the comments in the leaked e-mail, saying they were taken out of context, the Washington Post reports.