Even NASA now thinks that the next people to walk on the Moon will be Chinese:
The next humans to walk on the moon may well be Chinese, NASA's administrator told Congress yesterday. He said that the combination of budget cuts and restraints in the NASA lunar program and a determined and well-funded effort by the Chinese made that once-unthinkable possibility a real one.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told the House Committee on Science and Technology that, based on the status of the Chinese space program and its projected growth, China could land a man on the moon within a decade. Under current projections, a U.S. lunar return would not take place until 2019 at the earliest.
"If they wanted to mount a lunar mission, they could do so," Griffin said. "And yes, they could get to the moon before we return."
The Chinese space program employs about 200,000 people, Griffin said, while NASA has a workforce of about 75,000.
Griffin's assessment came during a day of NASA budget hearings in which both Republicans and Democrats decried a lack of funding for NASA, which has been given many ambitious missions.
The mistake that was made was the absolutely absurd, insane, waste of money that was spent on the Space Station and the Shuttle. Shouldn't have happened, should have carried on with the rockets, more of them, and put a base on the Moon.