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Chinese in Space
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The Chinese Space Program, at least according the Chinese, is throttling ahead and full steam:

Chinese state media is trumpeting the success of its latest space launch and beginning the countdown to an anticipated manned mission later this year.

From what I've heard, NASA is skeptical that the Chinese will be able to pull off a manned flight this early in their program.

But you know what? Who cares what NASA thinks? It's become a bloated, outmoded dinosaur, holding back space exploration more than facilitating it.

Also thought to be on the cards as part of China's wider space ambitions are plans for a manned moon mission. However, some groups criticize the program as a waste of money for country where hundreds of millions of rural peasants still struggle make ends meet.

And why should you care?

Because in this case the Chinese have it right. They're looking forward, overreaching perhaps, but that bold optimism cannot be underestimated as a powerful cultural force.

Many people complained about the expense of the U.S. space program, but who can truly downplay the incredible impact of seeing the first human being set foot on the surface of the moon. It isn't about simple's about vision, something America has been sorely lacking over the past few decades.

Countries that set goals beyond their current capabilities, governments that have a vision that captures the imagination not only of their own people, but of the entire world, those are places that truly shape human thought and elevate the human condition.

The Chinese, for all their faults, get this. If we don't, then we will begin to lag and atrophy. If we don't reach, as a nation, for anything more than our next Quarter Pounder, we will stagnate in our own insular decadence.

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