Russia, China may launch moon project

Russia and China are considering a joint project to study the moon, a senior Russian official said in a report made available to China Daily Tuesday.

"Russia and China are exploring the possibility of developing and implementing major joint projects, ... One of the priority areas of co-operation is China's programme to study the moon," the Interfax-China Information Agency quoted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov as saying.

The deputy prime minister said further Russian-Chinese co-operation in space exploration rests on the complete and timely implementation of the Programme for Bilateral Co-operation in Space for 2004-06.

"Russia is interested in broadening mutually beneficial co-operation with China in space exploration, which is an important component given the current level of bilateral relations," Zhukov said.

He said a meeting on Sino-Russian space co-operation between the prime ministers, held on June 27, was crowned by a general agreement to broaden co-operation in this area and to include 21 new themes and projects in the programme for 2004-06.

The programme includes a section entirely devoted to the moon. Also a joint working group has been set up for studying the moon and distant space, Zhukov said.

He said an international project to create an ultraviolet world space observatory is likely to evolve into another major project.

Among other promising joint projects is the creation of a Russian-Chinese system of radio interferometers with a super long-range base using the existing system of radio telescopes, and also the Radioastron project, which is the creation and joint utilization of a mobile satellite communication and digital radio broadcasting system.

However, at a regular press conference Tuesday in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan would not comment on the report.

Source: China Daily

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