China aims to create a map of the moon's surface. The country's space agency wants to measure every square inch of land on the surface of the moon to learn how much resources - like helium-3 - can be found in the moon's soil.
It was reported earlier in the year that China's first lunar orbiter, the Chang'e I, will hopefully launch sometime in the later part of 2007. The Chang'e I will be responsible for taking the majority of pictures that Chinese scientists will use to put together the map.
China previously announced its three tiers of space exploration: first satellite and manned spacecraft launches, then the ambitious moon probe project. The country has successfully put three taikonauts into space, with more launches planned for the future.
Speaking of the expanding China space program, a senior official said the the country is not competing with other space nations. The Chinese lunar program will continue at its own pace -- no matter what other space nations are doing, according to Hao Xifan, Lunar Exploration Center of Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense.