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Indian moon mission

Just last August, India’s space scientists submitted a report to government officials stating that the country has the technical capability to launch an unmanned lunar probe by 2007. This past week, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee added another slice to this goal: a "manned" moon mission to set off between 2005 and 2015.

The PM's announcement coincidentally came the day after India's neighbor and rival, China, had its fourth trial space craft return on Sunday. China plans to launch a manned moon mission later this year in September, a month before the anniversary of the communist revolution.

Critics of India’s lunar ambitions say that the efforts would have limited scientific value and be a waste of money on a project primarily designed to simply boost national prestige. They say the money used would be better spent on much needed health, educational, and other development projects to help the millions of desperately poor Indians.

Actually, one may say the same for China.

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