China Reaches for the Moon

Posted on October 24, 2007  Comments (0)

China’s Long March to the Moon

The missions by China and Japan are part of a broader resurgence of interest in the moon by space agencies around the world. The U.S. and India also are planning unmanned lunar-exploration missions next year. It is the biggest burst of such work since the 1970s. The last humans to stand on the moon were American astronauts from the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

For China, the aim is explicitly political, as well as scientific. “Lunar exploration reflects a country’s comprehensive national power,” said Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist for China’s moon program, in an interview with the official Communist Party newspaper, People’s Daily. It will “raise our international prestige and strengthen the cohesion of our people.”

China aims to have a unmanned mission to the moon in 2012 and a manned mission to the moon by 2020.

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