China unveiled its most ambitious project ever yet as the country plans to land on the moon by 2018 and orbit Mars by 2020. This is not the first time the country has explored space given that China’s first mission was back in 2003.
The ambitious future space travel plans were revealed in a white paper released by the Cabinet’s information office.
It said: “To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is a dream we pursue unremittingly.”
According to China’s paper, space will be used for peaceful purposes, carry out scientific research and to guarantee national security.
It aims to explore the Jupiter system, to “conduct research into major scientific questions such as the origin and evolution of the solar system, and search for extraterrestrial life”.
It successfully landed a rover on the Moon 10 years later – marking the first soft landing on the Moon since the 1970s.
In October this year, China launched two-man space mission, Shenzhou 11.
The spacecraft docked two days later with China’s first space lab, Tiangong-2.
Two men lived there for 30 days, marking the longest time Chinese astronauts have spent in space.
They conducted experiments and tested key technologies that China plans to use in its permanent space station.
Despite China’s ‘peaceful purposes’ claim, Beijing has previously engaged in testing of anti-satellite missiles.
The US has criticised the nation, saying that the missile tests were designed to prevent enemies from using space-based assets in a crisis.
In August China unveiled the ambitious aircraft it intends to send to Mars.
Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the project, said it will take at least half a year to reach the Red Planet once the spaceship leaves earth.