Tuesday, July 12, 2011

China want to explore the Moon, Venus and Mars

In light of last week's final NASA space shuttle launch, Beijing is stepping up to the plate with aspirations of exploring the Moon, Venus and Mars.

China plans to send a rover to the moon by 2013 and an astronaut by 2020. As the U.S. slows its space initiatives, many are worried that the Chinese may become the leader in space exploration, knocking the U.S. from its long-held top spot.

"Space leadership is highly symbolic of national capabilities and international influence, and a decline in space leadership will be seen as symbolic of a relative decline in U.S. power and influence," said Scott Pace, an associate NASA administrator in the George W. Bush administration and proponent for sending American astronauts back to the moon.

Some American officials are worried Beijing may try to militarize space because the space initiatives are run by the army. Just four years ago, the Chinese fired a missile at a dead satellite in space, something which sent up a red flag for many officials.

Refuting the idea that the Chinese hope to militarize space, Li Longchen, former editor of Space Probe Magazine said, "Space technology can be applied for both civilian and military use, but China doesn't stress the military purpose. It has been always hard for humankind to march into space and China must learn the lessons from the U.S."

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