China is putting a great effort into exploring the Moon. The Chinese Space Agency is expected to return samples from the lunar far side and build a robotic research station on the lunar south pole by 2030.
China is putting great effort into exploring the surface of the Moon. Their Chang’e 4 and 5 missions have made significant progress in studying the lunar surface, both the near and far sides. The Asian world power became the first nation to successfully perform a soft landing on the lunar far side when its Chang’e 5 mission touched down on the Moon on January 3, 2019. China is taking its lunar exploration program further with the upcoming Chang’e 6 mission, which is expected to return back to Earth at least two kilograms of lunar samples from the Moon’s far side.
The Chang’e lunar program
According to Xinhua, Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, added that the upcoming mission will return valuable material to Earth and that the Chang’e 7 mission will look for water sources on the Moon’s south pole. But China isn’t stopping there. As revealed by Chinese news agencies, The Chang’e 8 mission is expected to launch in 2028 and will coordinate with the Chang’e 7 mission to construct a scientific (robotic) research station at the lunar south pole. This will include numerous exploration instruments, such as rovers, landers, and orbiters. China’s Chang’e 5 mission is the country’s latest mission to Earth’s natural satellite. The mission returned 1.7 kilograms of lunar material to Earth from the near side of the Moon.
China and the US, a new space race
The scientific robotic station expected to be built on the lunar south pole aims to facilitate a crewed mission to the Moon in the 2030s, as well as the potential construction of a lunar outpost for human astronauts to reside in later on. In the meantime, NASA’s Artemis II mission is still in its early phases. The United States Space Agency has recently been training for the splashdown of the capsule as preparations continue for the second Artemis mission, which pans to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon for the first time since 1972.