China appears to be nearing its dream to put a man on the moon, with an official saying this week that it would “not take long” before Beijing approved a manned lunar project.

Yang Liwei, deputy director general of China Manned Space Agency, said China is making “preliminary preparations” for a manned lunar mission, state media said.

China confirmed in 2016 its intentions to carry out the mission – which was been touted in recent years one of the key targets of its ambitions plans for space exploration.

But officials speaking at the Global Space Exploration Conference in Beijing this week have gave a clear indication that planning has begun.

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