Source: BBC News
I asked him if the idea of a Chinese moonbase extracting minerals was remotely plausible.
"It's perfectly plausible from the technical point of view, absolutely plausible from the finance point of view because they have great buying power, so I think, yes, there's nothing at all to stop them doing that probably within something like 10 years."
So a great deal is riding on the Chang'e 3 launch - national prestige, the quest for technological prowess and the desire to harness all available natural resources.
If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will take six days to reach the Moon and then face the challenge of a soft landing.