China is considering the development of an economy outside of the Earth’s perimeter and is planning to establish an Earth-Moon economic zone by 2050. Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of the Ministry of Science and Technology, quoted Bao Weimin, director of the Science and Technology Commission of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), who said that China plans to build an Earth-Moon space economic zone by the middle of this century. Experts predict that China’s annual output in the zone may reach US$10 trillion. Bao said that the development of the space economic zone will not only bring about huge economic benefits, but it will change the current socio-economic model. CASC is the main state-owned contractor for the Chinese space program.
Bao added that China should develop a reliable and low-cost space transportation system between the Earth and the Moon. According to its plan, China will accomplish the basic technology development by 2030 and the manufacture of key transportation technologies by 2040. By the middle of this century, China may successfully establish a space economic zone.
Beijing plans to launch a Mars exploration mission in 2020 and a Mars landing in 2021. Science and Technology Daily quoted Zhang Yulin, former chief of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO), who said that the plan for the future development of China’s manned space flight is neither a simple moon landing nor a manned Mars exploration. Rather, it is to preempt an opportunity to steadily develop and utilize the Earth-Moon space via continuous technological breakthroughs and accumulation. In recent years, China has made rapid strides in the space industry, including a large number of lunar exploration research projects. China’s annual investment in space projects is as high as US$8 billion, second only to the United States.
Source: BBC Chinese, November 6, 2019