The China continues to make progress in its project to explore the moon. Recently, the Chinese government has officially approved 3 robotic lunar missions. The long-term goal of these missions is to establish a permanent lunar base on the surface of our satellite.
Since the start of its lunar exploration program by robots in 2004, China has managed to achieve several important milestones. The country was able launch its first orbitersthen a lander accompanied by a rover. Moreover, China is currently the only country to have successfully soft-landed on the far side of the Moon. Recently, she was able to bring lunar samples back to Earth.
The Chinese program corresponding to the exploration of the Moon is called Exchange. According to CNSA or China National Space Administrationthe construction of Chang’e 6which is the next device to leave for the Moon, is almost complete.
Build a permanent base
According to Liu Jizhong, director of CNSA’s Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center, the overall goal of these missions is to lay the foundation for a lunar research station.
Liu Jizhong explains that there are still many technical challenges to overcome. However, with the foundations they have built and a great team, he thinks they will succeed in achieving this goal.
The three missions approved
Thus, the first of the missions which have just received the approval of the Chinese government is the mission Chang’e 6. The aircraft for this mission was originally built as a replacement for the craft used for the mission Chang’e 5 of 2020. Its objective was to bring lunar samples back to Earth. As Chang’e 5 was a success, the spacecraft was recycled for use during the entire first attempt at collecting samples from the far side of the Moon. As of now, no timeline has yet been provided regarding the launch of Chang’e 6.
After Chang’e 6, it will be the turn of Chang’e 7 to take off. This time, the objective will be the lunar south pole. This mission will be carried out by several devices including an orbiter, a lander, a rover, a small relay satellite, but also a small detector that can jump into craters to look for water.
The third mission approved by the Chinese government is Chang’e 8. This mission will be launched towards the end of the decade, and its objective will be to test technologies that will allow 3D printing and the use of local resources.