China Sets Sights on Red Planet Wired News

China said Thursday it plans to launch its first manned spacecraft in the second half of this year, starting a countdown for its ambitions to become the third country capable of putting people in space. The space program, flagged in the official China Daily newspaper, is becoming a test of national pride as China, long mired in poverty but growing fast after two decades of market reforms, seeks a place on the world stage alongside great powers.