Two Chinese astronauts have blasted into orbit, as Chinajoins the what used to be known as the space race, which hasbecome fairly defunct since the Soviet Union broke up andthe US began to haveshuttleproblems. However, NASA has vowed toland on themoon again by 2018, and China has vowed toreach the moonas well. However, this determination to reach the moon isn?tprimarily fueled by scientific inquiry; both countries wantto claim rightsto the moon because of the incredibly valuableHelium 3 fuelthat is just lying on the surface, waiting to be shoveled up.

Maggie McKee writes in New Scientist that military pilotsFei Junlong and Nie Haisheng are now orbiting the Earth inthe tiny Shenzhou VI spacecraft. They will be in orbit for 5days. China refers to them as “taikonauts.” This is China?ssecond manned space flight. The first one took place twoyears ago. During that voyage, taikonaut Yang Liwei orbitedthe Earth for 21 hours.

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