China and Russia are discussing lunar exploration co-operation in the next three years, the deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency said yesterday.
Russia regards China as a "partner" in space exploration, Youriy Nosenko told a press conference in Beijing, adding that the two sides have shown interest on a lunar project. He did not elaborate.
"The two countries have different strengths that can supplement and benefit each other," he said.
China is the third country to launch a human into space on its own following Russia and the United States.
It announced in a white paper last month that it would launch its first lunar probe satellite "Chang'e I" for resource exploration before 2010.
Russia, which plans to send a lunar probe and collect soil samples between 2010 and 2012, has launched 115 space probes, accounting for more than half the human attempts at space exploration.
"We have broad prospects for co-operation Russia will try to account for a larger percentage in China's space industry," he said.
China and Russia are currently co-operating in 38 projects related to space.
Between 2004 and 2006, the two sides were involved in more than 30 joint projects, which have "laid the groundwork for future co-operation," said Nosenko.
Besides, the two countries are considering a joint mission to Mars.
In the Mars project that also involves other European countries, China will be responsible for launching a small satellite to the Mars in 2009, which will carry equipment designed and produced by Russia for soil sample collection. The nation will also participate in Mars landing project.
Source: China Daily