China seems to be very enthusiastic about its successes in space. After several successful rocket launches into orbit, the Chinese authorities decided to pay more attention to other projects connected with the mastering of space. In particular, they plan to create a moon base. This was reported by the Asia Daily newspaper, referring to Chinese mass media. According to this edition, China created a three-stage plan that should finally make possible a flight to the Moon. For the first stage, a manned space flight is being planned, the creation of a space laboratory, and, afterwards, a space station. As a long-term prospect, the Chinese plan to build a moon base and to mine mineral resources. The program is great. So far, specialists are discussing the possibility of such a base only theoretically. From a technological viewpoint, this project could be realized soon enough. The only question is why, and for what purpose?
The building of a base on the Moon will be very expensive and economically unjustified. At least, for the time being. China’s intention to create such a base pursues more of a political than an economical object. In fact, the realization of such a project would seriously enhance the prestige of Chinese astronautics, because nobody will be surprised now with space flights. However, if a Chinese base appears on the Moon, this will be a serious application for leadership in space and a blow to the US’s prestige, whose astronauts were first to the Moon. As is well known, China works on its space program independently, without anyone’s assistance. In addition, China does not participate in work on the ISS. Nevertheless, the Chinese already achieved some successes in their space program. It is very possible that, soon, the first moon base will really appear, where the staff will speak in Chinese. I wonder what Dennis Hope, the seller of lunar lots will say about it? He hardly can be a serious obstacle for China.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/20/41407.html