Beijing, March 4 (IANS) China plans to make a manned moon landing by 2030, but the purpose of exploration of the moon should be seen as 'peaceful' rather than a threat, a top scientist has said.
Ye Peijian, chief scientist of deep space exploration at the China Academy of Space Technology, said China's space technology still lags far behind the US and Russia, according to China Daily.
China's three-phase moon exploration plan began in October 2010 with the launch of the Chang'e-2. The second phase will see the Chang'e-3 land on the moon in 2013. Then, in 2017, a sample of rock from the moon will be sent to Earth.
China will launch a space module - the 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1 (or Heavenly Palace-1) - in 2011, after which two manned spacecraft would dock with the module in 2012, said a spokesman for the China Manned Space Engineering Office.
The Shenzhou IX and Shenzhou X spacecraft will blast off in 2012 for manned docking with Tiangong-1.
Training of astronauts for the manned missions has begun. China has also recruited its first two women astronauts for training.
The space station, which would have a lifespan of around 10 years, will be cared for by two or three on-board astronauts, and would be open to scientists from foreign countries, officials said.