A senior Chinese space agency official said in Beining on Wednesday that China would actively plan its deep space exploration over the next five years, focusing on lunar and Mars exploration.
Sun Laiyan, administrator of the China National Space Administration, said China would study the distribution and utilization of lunar resources and terrestrial planetary science as well as exploring scientific measures for supporting mankind's sustainable survival on Earth.
Key research areas will also include astronomy and solar physics, space physics and solar system exploration, micro-gravity sciences and space life science.
Sun urged Chinese scientists to increase their understanding of star and universe evolution through the observation and study of the sun and black holes.
In the next five years, Sun said, China will independently develop and launch an astronomical satellite.
China will advance its exploration of the integral behavior of the chain reaction of solar-terrestrial space, establish a space weather forecast pattern on which a weather support system for space flight safety and communication will be based, he told the 36th Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research.
Sun said, "Priorities shall be given to innovative projects on major scientific problems, and the emphases will be laid on sun-earth space environment study, solar system exploration and space astronomy."
Sun's administration is striving to establish an open, fair and scientific competition system for the selection of all space science projects, he said.
"We need to avoid unorganized competition by publicly collecting and evaluating proposals, and carrying out feasibility studies," Sun said.
"We'll also encourage and support other countries to join in the programs initiated by China in space science, and Chinese scientists will participate in international space science programs," the administrator said.
During the 11th Five-Year (2006-2010) Program period, research into micro-gravity science will be coordinated with national scientific and technological strategic objectives.
This will promote the development of high technology for biological engineering and new materials and basic research on gravity theory and life science.
Chinese scientists have already conducted space experiments in astronomy, environment, microgravity fluid physics, material science, life science and earth science.
In February 2004, China initiated the Lunar Exploration Mission and started the research and development of the Chang'e lunar probe.
In October 2005, Shenzhou VI for the first time operated manned space lab experiments. China also launched four recoverable satellites.
The results achieved through many years of research have laid a foundation for the fulfillment of space science development goals set out in the 11th Five-Year Program. After over ten years of advanced research on Space Solar Telescope and Space Hard X-Ray Modulation Telescope, scientists have tackled problems on key technologies and manufactured models of main components.
It is estimated that in the past decade, China's space science investment, including infrastructure and programs, had exceeded 900 million yuan (112.5 million U.S. dollars).
The National High-Tech Research and Development Program initiated in the mid 1980s and the Manned Spaceflight Program begun in 1992 substantially promoted the development of China's space research.