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China Determines Moon Is "Very, Very Far Away"
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BEIJING, China - Ever since China rocketed into the elite three-member club of manned-space-flight-capable nations, rumors have similarly flown around concerning what the world's largest communist nation plans to do next. High on the speculators' list was a manned trip to the moon, but Beijing today quashed that rumor. "China will conduct space-based research from its own space station," explained Wang Yongzhi, "But our research shows that the moon is actually much further away than it appears. We will not be attempting to reach it in the foreseeable future."

"At least 10,000 kilometers separate us from the lunar surface, perhaps more."
-- Wang Yongzhi, aging Chinese space pioneer
Yongzhi has overseen much of the work for the recent space shot and has been highly involved in setting the goals for the space program as a whole. "Ancient texts speak of travelers to the skies, to the moon, to the stars," he explained to the official Xinhua news agency, "But it appears much of the material there spoke metaphorically. Gazing into the skies, one can imagine that the moon is perhaps a hundred kilometers away. But we are convinced that at least 10,000 kilometers separate us from the lunar surface, perhaps more."

"Wang is not really running on all of his cylinders," stated one Chinese space agency official under condition of anonymity, "His space ship left the harbor a few years ago, and he was sadly not a passenger of it." Other individuals held similar views, "Yes, it is very sad. Actually, we had decided many months ago against visiting the moon. But Dr. Yongzhi just keeps forgetting."

A randomly chosen science book from Mao Elementary School in Beijing states that the moon "orbits at an average distance of 387,000 kilometers from Earth," indicating that Yongzhi's distance estimate is not an official Chinese position. China's first taikonaut, Yang Liwei, was unavailable for comment.
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