The competition heats up: In several different news stories today China touted its future plans in space.
- At a science conference in Beijing their chief scientist announced that they plan on doing a simulated return-to-Earth landing test of their lunar sample return unmanned probe by the end of the year.
- He also announced that they plan a Mars mission by 2020 and a Mars sample return mission by 2030, as well as missions to three asteroids.
- Three astronauts also completed a 105 day occupancy of a simulated lunar base dubbed Lunar Palace 1.
The landing test described in the first story above will also be the first test flight of China’s new heavy lift rocket, Long March 5.
That China is both politically and culturally serious about this effort can be seen by the nationalistic enthusiasm for this space effort that permeates these stories. They also can’t help comparing their plans to U.S. efforts.
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