- Associated Press - Monday, July 11, 2011

BEIJING (AP) - China is forging ahead with plans to put a man on the moon sometime after 2020.

Some experts worry the U.S. could slip behind China in human spaceflight. Former associate NASA administrator Scott Pace says that “a decline in space leadership will be seen as symbolic of a relative decline in U.S. power and influence.”

An ongoing U.S. space shuttle mission will be the last. NASA is ending the program after 30 years.

China is still far behind the U.S. in space but has made steady progress in recent years. It sent a probe to the moon in 2006 and carried out its first spacewalk in 2008. This year it plans to launch a train-car size module into orbit as the first building block for a planned space station.