BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The world's third country to softland on the moon has the ability to achieve the manned lunar landing but it has no plan to do it, a leading Chinese space scientist said Friday.
"With China's current technologies of manned space flight and moon probe, we have the technology basis to realize the manned lunar mission," said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program.
But the scientist said his nation has no plan to land its astronauts on the moon for the time being.
Zhou, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top political advisory body, also said that challenges and a lot of preparation precede the realization of the manned lunar mission.
For example, it requires the research and development of a bigger carrier rocket and the bigger and more sophisticated manned spacecraft, he added.
The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, composed of a lander and China's first moon rover, named "Yutu," soft-landed on the moon in 2013, making China the third country to carry out such a mission after the United States and the Soviet Union.