After years of attempting to catch up with American and European space agencies, China could be the first to land a probe on the far side of the moon, perhaps as soon as 2018.

A white paper released by China’s cabinet on Tuesday revealed the country’s space strategy for the next five years, indicating that the country’s rumored desire to land a probe on the moon was indeed real and could be accomplished in record time.

“I think it is fantastic! A soft landing, with a rover, to explore FOR THE FIRST TIME on the surface, the far side of the Moon,” Dr. Clive Neal, the chair of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, told The Christian Science Monitor in a January interview. “The far side is so different from the side that we see from Earth. It contains the biggest hole in the Solar System – the South Pole-Aitken basin.”

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