China’s lofty plans to send a man into space are causing a stir in the United States that could, eventually, launch another international space race. ‘Within 50 years, China will be No. 1,’ an academic told GEOFFREY YORK. All it has to do is keep the money coming and figure out the technology. Zhang Yibao, a 20-year-old university sophomore in baggy shorts and oversize basketball shoes, clicks a few commands on his computer. A pirated copy of a U.S. space robot grinds into motion, crawling across an imitation of the surface of Mars. “The battery is running out, so we’re only doing simple things,” he apologizes. Never underestimate Chinese ingenuity. When an aerospace university in Beijing decided to build a knock-off of the U.S. robot that had explored Mars, it knew that it could not hope for access to the space secrets of its American rivals. So its students simply went onto the Internet and borrowed the design from an old photograph.