It’s hard to forget the Space Race between America and the Soviet Union for almost two decades last century. Today China, Japan and even India all have their development plans of the moon. From the Economic Times:
Japan claims its project is the biggest since Apollo. China says it is readying its probes to study the lunar surface to plan a landing. With Asia’s biggest powers set to launch their first unmanned lunar missions ” possibly as early as next month ” the countdown has begun in the hottest space race since the US beat the Soviet Union to the moon nearly four decades ago.
Japan’s space agency said last week its SELENE lunar satellite is on track for a September 13 launch. China, meanwhile, is rumored to be planning a September blastoff for its Chang’e 1 probe, but is coy as to the date. The Chinese satellite and its Changzheng 3 rocket have passed all tests, and construction of the launch pad is finished, according to the National Space Administration’s website. Officials have tried to play down the importance of beating each other off the pad, but their regional rivalry is never far below the surface.
Also read CNN’s report on India plans moon mission ‘by 2007’