China Announces Plan To Land Astronauts On Moon By 2030

Lin Xiqiang, the deputy director of China’s Manned Space Agency, has announced the country’s plan to land astronauts on the moon by 2030. The project is named the Chang’e Project.

China plans to complete a mission to land a person on the moon by 2030, a government official announced on Monday, in the highest-level confirmation of China’s ambitions for a crewed lunar landing.

Chinese scientists have previously nodded at a 2030 goal in a less formal capacity; for example, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program said last month that a 2030 landing would be “no problem.”

“We can clasp the moon in the ninth heaven,” Lin Xiqiang, the deputy director of China’s Manned Space Agency, said at a news conference on Monday, quoting a Mao Zedong poem.

Mr. Lin said the moon landing project, part of the country’s broader Lunar Exploration Project — also known as the Chang’e Project, for the Chinese moon goddess — had “recently” been kick-started, though he did not offer specifics. The project would also seek to enable short-term stays on the lunar surface, as well as collect samples and conduct research, he said.

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The Monday announcement came at a news conference to mark the liftoff of three new astronauts on Tuesday to China’s new space station, which was completed late last year.

A manned lunar landing would be a major milestone for China’s, and the world’s, space exploration: No human has been on the moon since the United States’ Apollo missions in the 1960s and ’70s. And it could mark a significant achievement for China in its burgeoning competition with the United States in space. China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has said that the country should become a “great space power.”

The agency said in a release on Thursday that an Indian-origin engineer named Amit Kshatriya has been appointed to head NASA’s new Moon to Mars program.

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