BEIJING (Xinhua) – China has approved the fourth stage of its lunar exploration program, including a basic model of a research station to be built on the Moon in the next decade, according to the China National Space Administration.
Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the administration, said China will carry out lunar exploration in the future Chang’e-6, Chang’e-7 and Chang’e-8 missions.
According to the plans, the Chang’e-7 probe will be launched to the south pole of the Moon first. Because Chang’e-6 is a backup of the Chang’e-5 sample return mission, it will be launched after Chang’e-7 to bring back samples from the lunar south pole. The Chang’e-6 mission will be followed by Chang’e-8, a step toward building a model lunar scientific research station.
“We are also preparing to work with Russia to build the basic model of the lunar research station,” Wu said in a recent interview. “The construction of the station will lay a solid foundation for better exploring the lunar environment and resources, including how to peacefully use and develop lunar resources.”
The Chang’e-5 probe was launched in 2020 and recovered a total of 1,731 grams of lunar samples. China is currently operating the Chang’e-4 lander and the Yutu 2 rover on the far side of the Moon. In 2019, they made the first safe landing on the Von Karman crater in the south polar Aitken Basin, on the far side of the Moon.
Image: The photo, taken by the Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) rover on Jan. 11, 2019, shows the Chang’e-4 lander. (Courtesy of China National Space Administration)
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