China’s New Year’s Resolution –“Far Side of the Moon by 2018, Mars 2020, Search for Extraterrestrial Life”

 

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"To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is a dream we pursue unremittingly," read a white paper setting out the country's space strategy for the next five years. It says China aims to use space for peaceful purposes and to guarantee national security, and to carry out cutting edge scientific research.


China vowed Tuesday to speed up the development of its space industry as it set out its plans to become the first country to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon, around 2018, and launch its first Mars probe by 2020.

China's State Council's Information Office and Space Administration, have released the "White Paper on China's Space Activities in 2016". The press conference held earlier Monday, introduced China's space development throughout the past year.  The white paper reiterated China's plans to launch its first Mars probe by 2020, saying this would explore and bring back samples from the red planet, explore the Jupiter system and "conduct research into major scientific questions such as the origin and evolution of the solar system, and search for extraterrestrial life."

Last month, two astronauts returned from a month-long stay aboard China's Tiangong 2 experimental space station, the country's sixth and longest crewed mission. A fully functioning, permanently crewed space station similar to the current ISS is on course to begin operations six years from now and is slated to run for at least a decade.

The paper offers a brief introduction on the development and major achievements that China has made in the field of space exploration since 2011. It goes on to outline the main tasks set for the next five years, alongside other policies and goals for international exchanges and cooperation efforts. It states that China has always adhered to the principle of peaceful space exploration, adding that the nation opposes the use of weapons or an arms race in outer space.

As for future major projects, China will launch the Chang'e-4 lunar probe in 2018, with hopes of achieving mankind's first soft landing on the far side of the moon. Plans to launch the country's first Mars probe are set for 2020, which will carry out orbiting and roving exploration. China also plans to further develop and form the BeiDou Network by 2020, which consists of 35 satellites, providing global navigation services. And, a heavy-lift launch vehicle project is set to be activated within the next five years.

Officials from the Space Administration also added that China will hold an open stance when it comes to foreign investment in its space exploration industry.

The Daily Galaxy via CCTV and Associated Press

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