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Red moon threat reflects hollow fears on space

By Su Li (Global Times)

08:56, August 29, 2012

Neil Armstrong's passing away has stirred up a feeling of nostalgia among the Western observers over the heyday of the US space program. It also unexpectedly generated a new round of speculation over which will be the next nation to land an astronaut on the moon. China, in the eyes of many strategists, is closest to this goal.

In fact, since US President Barack Obama cancelled NASA's return-to-the-moon program in February 2010, there have been worries that Obama's "miscalculation" would help China's space ambitions, and that a Chinese landing on the moon would weaken the US' technological hegemony. An article published in Foreign Policy magazine in June, "Red Moon Rising," even speculates about a future Chinese "moon colony."

China, which is decades behind the US in terms of space technology, is seeking a greater presence in space. However, there is neither an official plan nor a national desire to engage in a comprehensive competition with space powers like the US and Russia.

As Huang Jiangchuan, chief designer of China's second moon probe Chang'e 2, pointed out recently, there is no official proposal or even any specific timetable for a manned mission to the moon.

Furthermore, China's lunar exploration is conducted based on research progress and the nation's practical needs.
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