China has been talking about its very ambitious space program for quite some time. Firstly, they want to travel to the dark side of the Moon, by 2018. Then, they are planning an even bigger space event. They want to reach Mars by the end of 2020.
China ‘s space plans
On Tuesday, China revealed a policy paper during a press conference. This paper includes the country’s plans for their activity in space from deep space exploration to human spaceflight. The paper also displays what China achieved in the last five years in what concerns space travelling. Moreover, it outlines their plans for the next five ones along with some other details regarding international collaboration and the development stage their space industry is in, at the moment. The document is long and full of ambitious plans. However, maybe the most interesting part of it is China ‘s deep space exploration plans which might take humans to Mars by the end of the decade.
The deputy chief of the National Space Administration said that China plans to launch the first probe with destination Mars in 2020. This probe will most likely explore and it will be followed by a second one which will go to Mars to collect various samples. If they will manage to do this, China might be ahead of NASA in what regards the importance of such a mission for the history of the humanity and science. One of their most ambitious goals is for their country to be the biggest space power in the world, by 2030.
Apart from the Mars plans, China wants to send robots to explore the north and south poles of the moon. What is more interesting is that they are planning to do this twice in the next five and ten years. As for other planets, China plans to also explore Jupiter and conduct thorough researches in order to find out more about the origins of the Universe. They are also planning to search for any signs of extraterrestrial life.
China moves ahead
In comparison with the United States, China was late to the space party. They only sent out their first satellite in 1970. Just before that, the United States made possible the landing of the first man on the Moon. That must have hurt them a little because since then, they invested billions of dollars in their space industry, including research and astronaut training. Since 2003, they sent five crews into space. Only Russia and the United States managed this before them. Also since 2003, they sent a rover and a space laboratory to the Moon in the hope of soon establishing a space station there.
During the press conference, the deputy chief also said that China is currently collaborating with many space agencies from all around the world. The only exception from that list is NASA following a 2011 U.S. government decision which banned it from working with the Asian giant because of issues regarding the country’s national security. Also, a collaboration between the two nations in what concerns space exploration is very unlikely.
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