BEIJING (Reuters) – China will hold talks on building a defense system against near-Earth asteroids, a senior space agency official said on Saturday, as the country intensifies its long-term space ambitions. Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration, did not provide further details in his opening remarks at a ceremony for China’s space day in the eastern city of Nanjing. China has made space exploration a top priority in recent years, aiming to establish a program that will operate thousands of space flights a year and transport tens of thousands of tons of cargo and passengers by 2045. Last year, the Agency European Space signed an agreement worth 129 million. euros ($ 156 million) to build a spacecraft for a joint project with NASA examining how to deflect an asteroid heading for Earth. China is pushing forward a mission in which a space probe will land on a near-Earth asteroid to collect samples, fly back to Earth to release a capsule containing the samples, and then orbit another comet, the official Xinhua news agency reported. , quoting Ye Peijian. , academic of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The mission could take around a decade to complete, Ye said. China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding last month to establish an international lunar research station. ($ 1 = 0.8265 euros)
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