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Could China get to Mars First?

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Last September 2008, the Peoplepsilas Republic of China conducted its first three-person space mission--Shenzhou-7 - featuring the countrypsilas inaugural space walk, taken by a taikonaut wearing a made-in-China space suit. Concurrently, its orbital mission to the Moon, Changpsilae-1, was sending back to Earth superb images of the lunar surface. Both were startling achievements by a relative newcomer to space. Indeed, in the last decade, the Chinese have burst into manned and unmanned spaceflight. Some experts predict that it will be the Chinese who first rdquopeople Mars.rdquo Could that happen? If China were to accelerate its rate of progress, it might succeed in sending teams of astronauts to Mars and other enticing destinations within two decades. But to do so it would have to depart from the top-down, by-the-book, party-line decision making that now prevails.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

June 2009

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