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CHINA’S GIANT STEP: THE NEW SPACE RACE
“Half a century ago, when the first American set foot on the Moon, China was a slumbering dragon,” said Rhys Blakely in The Times. Its GDP per capita was $100 and it had yet to launch its first satellite. But on 3 January, China landed a probe on the far side of the Moon – a feat never before
attempted – announcing itself “as a bona fide superpower in a new space race”. The landing of the Chang’e 4 probe was an impressive feat, but it wasn’t “technologically dazzling”, said the Financial Times. “Nasa could have done it many years ago had it wished to”; in fact, last week’s other big breakthrough in space – the fly-by of Ultima Thule, some four billion miles
from Earth – was much more remarkable. But in terms of geopolitics, the Moon landing was the “more significant”. It announced a new entrant into what had long been “largely a two-horse race between the US and Russia”.
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