Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cernan says China will be first back to the Moon

Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan
Peter Rakobowchuk
The Canadian Press

Ottawa - Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon almost 40 years ago, is worried China will beat other nations back to the shiny orb.

"There's no question in my mind at all that they are going to develop the capability to go to the moon and probably establish colonies there to take advantage of some of the resources that are on the moon," he said on Wednesday.

China moved one step closer to setting up its own space station with the successful docking of two unmanned spacecraft above the Earth which was announced Thursday morning.

Cernan spent more than 70 hours on the lunar surface in December 1972 along with fellow U.S. astronaut Harrison Schmitt during the Apollo 17 mission.

He said China is "eight or ten years away" from landing on the moon and when they get there they are going to literally almost own it because no other countries have any plans to go there.

"The Chinese have a long-term plan that's going to leave the rest of us behind quite frankly and I'm worried about it," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Cernan said if China assumes a position of leadership in space, "it's going to have significant negative effects on western civilization, particularly the United States — for many years to come."

The 77-year-old former astronaut made the comments at the First Aerospace Summit where he was also the keynote speaker.

Read the full story HERE.

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