No, that's not some joke about its plans for some of its political dissidents. It's serious. And the Guardian notes the Chinese want to make it happen within five years.
Tentative plans to land a man on the moon have been outlined in a document published by the Chinese government that confirms the nation's intention to become a major spacefaring nation. Officials in China have spoken before of their hopes for a crewed lunar mission, but the government document is the first to state the aim as a formal goal for the nation's space agency.
Details of the plan – which would see a human walk on the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in December 1972 – were published in a white paper that serves as a roadmap for the next five years of Chinese space exploration.
It says China will "push forward human spaceflight projects and make new technological breakthroughs, creating a foundation for future human spaceflight", and describes preparations for orbiting laboratories, space stations and studies that underpin "the preliminary plan for a human lunar landing".Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds that the Chinese appear to be taking advantage of the decline in space exploration by the U.S. and Russia.
China's space program has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time. In 2003, it became the third country to launch its own astronaut -- known as a "Taikonaut" -- into space, and five years later, completed a spacewalk.Anyone reading this doubt the Chinese will make it happen?
Despite the advances, in terms of experience China lags far behind the United States and Russia, which engaged in a Cold War-era "Space Race" for decades.
But while the emphasis on space has waned in those countries, China has placed a premium on the development of its space industry, which is seen as a symbol of national prestige.