Madrid, 4 (Europe Press)
China has approved the fourth phase of its lunar exploration programme, which includes a basic model of a lunar-based research station over the next decade.
According to Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), China will carry out this new phase of lunar exploration with future missions Chang’e-6, Chang’e-7 and Chang’e-8, according to reports. Xinhua. The first is expected to be launched in 2024.
As planned, the Chang’e-7 probe will launch to the south pole of the moon. Since Chang’e-6 is a backup for the Chang’e-5 sample return mission, it will be launched after Chang’e-7 to bring samples to the Moon’s south pole. The Chang’e-6 mission will be followed by Chang’e-8, and is a step toward building a model for the 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 us to better explore the lunar environment and resources, including how to use and develop lunar resources peacefully.”
The Chang’e-5 probe was launched in 2020, having recovered a total of 1,731 grams of lunar samples. China currently operates the Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu 2 lander on the far side of the Moon. They made the first soft landing at Von Karmann Crater in the Antarctic-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon in 2019.