China unveils ambitious space exploration plans for next 5 years

Beijing, Jan 29 (IANS) China aims to strengthen its space infrastructure and develop a next-generation spacecraft to carry people into space, as well as probe how to land people on the Moon, in the next five years, the media reported.

In a new white paper released on Friday, China detailed its space exploration plans as well as its achievements in the space sector since 2016, The Verge reported.

Achievements include expanding space capabilities, increasing the frequency and range of its launches, and penetrating new areas such as robotic exploration of Mars.

China has also mounted a long-term lunar exploration campaign that involves sending a series of landers and rovers to the lunar surface every few years.

In 2019, the country became the first to land a rover on the far side of the Moon, and in 2020 China brought samples from the Moon back to Earth.

In 2021, the country also launched the central module of a new space station which will be built in orbit around the Earth. There are currently three astronauts living aboard the station, according to the report.

Over the next five years, China plans to send two more robotic spacecraft to the moon to study the lunar polar regions, areas of the lunar surface believed to harbor water ice.

The first probe will return lunar samples while the second will perform “jump detection” in an area with permanent shadow, the report adds.

The country will also “study plans for its next lunar probe and work with international partners to build an international research station” on the moon, according to the white paper.

Besides the Moon, China also hopes to launch a probe to near-Earth asteroids within the next five years and study ways to send spacecraft back to the Jupiter and Mars system, with plans to bring back samples. of the red planet.

Other space goals listed in the white paper include building China’s space station, updating its satellite technologies, improving its space transportation and rocket systems, creating new rocket engines, among others, according to the report.

–IANS

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