Chinese space exploration with an eye on the moon and Mars

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China has once again strengthened its desire to explore space in a white paper in which it confirms plans to take a probe to the hidden side of the moon and launch the first probe to Mars.

It was this past Tuesday that China confirmed its plans to land a probe on the far side of the moon and still launch the first probe to Mars. “Exploring the vast cosmos, developing the space industry and turning China into a space power is a dream we pursue unceasingly”, reads the White Paper released by Beijing.

The document that details the country’s space plans for the next five years also states that the Chinese space program is for peaceful purposes and aims at ensuring national security and conducting scientific research.

Beijing has placed great emphasis on the development of its space industry, which it considers to be a symbol of development and affirmation on the international scene. The country’s aim, though not mentioned in the document, is to send an astronaut to the moon.

Meanwhile, Russia and the United States, have more experience with manned space travel, the Chinese program, which is supported by the country’s military, has made rapid progress.
China held its first manned space mission in 2003.

About a decade later, it landed a probe on the Moon. Last November, two Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after 30 days in space, where they lived and worked at the Tiangong-2 space laboratory on China’s longest and sixth manned mission.

Beijing wants to put a permanent crew in space until 2022, housed in a space station that is scheduled to operate for at least a decade.

The White Paper reiterates China’s plans to put its first probe on Mars by 2020 to explore and bring in samples of the Red Planet. This mission is also aimed at exploring the Jupiter system and “conducting research on important scientific issues, such as the origin and evolution of the solar system, and seeking extraterrestrial life”.

In the year 2018, China wants the lunar probe “Chang’e-4” to obtain new data on the formation and evolution of Earth’s satellite.

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