China wants to become a modern world power, and it's willing to go to the moon for it. Building on national pride generated by the Beijing Olympics, China sent three astronauts to walk in space on behalf of the Chinese people. The mission intended to test and display Chinese space technology. Yesterday, the "taikonauts" returned home to a hero's welcome.
Becoming only the third nation to walk in space, China took the first step towards its goal of building a Chinese space station as a challenge to Russia and the US Western powers and Japan have become nervous with suspicion that China wants to militarize space.
But even though China conducted an anti-satellite missile test last year, prospects for closer US-Chinese space cooperation have improved. This summer the US Treasury Department lifted sanctions against China, imposed thanks to allegations that China helped Iran develop its missile program. Top space officials from both countries have met, too. Here's to hoping the world doesn't face a space war!