A China National Space Administration (CNSA) official said Tuesday that the country was planning to go for "strength and size" in its space program.
The white paper released by China stated that the lunar probe named as "Chang'e-4" will take off from China by the end of 2018.
China has set out its space plans for the next five years, including soft landing a probe on the far side of the moon around 2018 and launching its first Mars probe by 2020.
The white paper reiterated plans to launch China's first Mars probe to explore and bring back samples of the red planet by 2020.
Topographic and geological surveys will be implemented through the lunar exploration project and laboratory research on lunar samples will be conducted, it said."Geological survey and research as well as low-frequency radio astronomy observation and research will be carried out targeting the landing area on the far side of the moon for a better understanding of the formation and evolution of the moon", it added. That white paper also states that China wants to use space to guarantee national security and for peaceful research purposes.
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Though they lack the experience of the Russian, European or United States space programs, the AP noted that China has "made steady progress in a comparatively short time", having conducted the first crewed space mission in the nation's history just 13 years ago, then performing a spacewalk and soft landing a rover on the lunar surface in 2013 - the first such landing in decades. Though Beijing has said on several occasions that its space program is for peaceful purposes, the US Department of Defense has pointed out that the Chinese space agency was pursuing activities aimed at destroying the space-based assets of adversaries in the event of a conflict.
Despite the head start by American and Russian space programs, in particular, China's program has bounded ahead, with the pace accelerating rapidly in recent years. The part about guaranteeing national security isn't clarified.
The paper offers a brief introduction on the development and major achievements that China has made in the field of space exploration since 2011.
Since China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, it has staged a spacewalk and landed a rover on the moon in 2013 - the first time humans had soft landed anything on the moon since the 1970s. It seems, the ultimate aim of China will be folded up by making a symbolic landing of an astronaut on the surface of the moon.