China is launching a rover to the moon this year, with more launches and returning samples coming soon. They also plan to have humans on the moon within the next decade.
The Moon offers many benefits for exploration beyond Earth -
- Abundant resources
- A stable launch platform with a much lower gravity well, and
- Easy access to shielding from the hazards of open space (i.e. radiation & impacts)
Identifying the best locations to
- Harvest resources
- Set up factories, and
- Create habitats
would all seem to be basic logistical, political and economic necessities for exploration of the Moon and the Solar system.
Does China have the most aggressive moon exploration plan as of 2013?