China invites other nations to join moon exploration

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-07-21 13:57
This NASA file image, dated July 20, 1969, shows one of the first footprints of Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin Buzz Aldrin on the moon. The Apollo 11 crew consisted of astronauts Neil Armstrong, who was the Mission Commander and the first man to step on the moon, Aldrin, who was the Lunar Module Pilot, and Michael Collins, who was the Command Module pilot. [Photo/Agencies]

In 1969, when Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon, the astronomical body was just the thing aloof on which Chinese people gazed and mused. Fifty years later, China became the first ever to land a robotic spacecraft on the lunar far side.

As the world celebrates the historic moon landing on July 20 half a century ago, Chinese lunar explorers said China's Moon exploration program, which includes a robotic lunar research station prototype by 2030 to prepare for manned missions, is open to international cooperation.

With more lunar scientific exploration and verifying technology, the lunar research station will become a base for astronauts to visit briefly, and ultimately for their long-term stay, Li Chunlai, director of the Ground Research and Application System of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Project, and three of his colleagues, wrote on Friday.

"International cooperation is an important element in China's strategy of lunar and deep space exploration," they said in an article published on the special issue of the US journal Science to mark the July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 moon landing.

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