China did it, Russia did it, we did it, and now North Korea really, really wants to do it, too. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, a North Korean space official said that the country has plans to plant its flag on the moon by 2020.
"Even though the US and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon," said Hyon Kwang-il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration.
North Korea's space program, admittedly, is still young. It was formed in 2011 and reorganized in 2013, and it has only ever launched a few satellites up into orbit. Experts say sending an un-manned mission to the moon isn't completely out of the realm of possibility for the country, but no one is really holding their breath.
"Judging from what I have seen so far with their space program, it will take North Korea about a decade or more to get to lunar orbit at best—if they really pursue this mission," Markus Schiller, a German expert on North Korea's rockets, told the AP. "My personal guess, however, is that they might try but they will fail, and we will not see a successful North Korea lunar orbiter for at least two decades, if ever."
If that's the case, North Korea will likely get lapped by Moon Express—the first private company to get the go-ahead to land on the lunar rock—which plans to make it by 2017. But hey, it's not a race.