If you’ve felt like NASA is the only space agency spending hours boosting space exploration and dominating space, we have news for you.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has been fighting for the space crown for some time now, while competing with the US space agency.
CNSA Senior Researcher Wu Weiren recently presented an overview of China’s space goals for the next 30 years on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. And let us tell you, the program is loaded!
According to the Global Times, Wu Weiren, who was also the lead designer of China’s lunar exploration program, said China aims to collect samples from Mars by 2030 and is studying concepts to explore the most remote regions. far from the solar system.
Below is a detailed description of all the exciting missions China has planned for the next few decades.
To the Moon
China’s three-stage lunar exploration program of orbiting, landing and returning samples from the moon, which began in 2004, was successfully concluded with the Chang’e-5 mission. Chang’e 5 collected 1.73 kg of lunar dust and pebbles from Oceanus Procellarum on the near side of the Moon in December 2020. The samples brought by China yielded significant results.
Now, Wu has announced that phase 4 of the national lunar probe program received state authorization at the end of 2021, and will be carried out in three stages before 2030, with the Chang’e-6 missions. , -7 and -8. being the first three.
Chang’e-6 will seek to return one to two kg samples from the lunar pole regions to Earth. Chang’e-7 will land at the south pole of the Moon in search of water ice and study the region’s ecosystem and terrain, while the final phase of Chang’e-8 will explore how to use the resources of the lunar south pole.
He also suggested that the construction of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) – the centerpiece of Phase 4 – will be completed by 2035.
Chinese engineers are also actively tackling the technical hurdles of launching a Mars sample return mission that would be more complex than the successful Change’5 lunar mission.
A single lander capsule with the ascent vehicle would initially land on Mars for sample collection. And due to Mars’ stronger gravitational impact, a sturdier and heavier rocket than the Chang’e 5 mission’s Ascender would be needed to lift off Mars’ surface with the collected materials. The samples would then be transported to a Mars Orbiter, which would then launch a re-entry craft to bring them back to Earth.
It has not escaped anyone that apart from slight differences in details, the CNSA Mars sample return mission and the NASA-ESA collaboration for a sample return mission planned for the middle and the early 2030s have striking similarities.
Deep Space Missions
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing, China’s largest rocket manufacturer, has revealed its experts are working on a super-heavy rocket called Long March 9 for crewed flights to the Moon and other missions in the deep space.
Wu also revealed his intentions for longer-term exploration of the solar system, as he said: “In the long term, we intend to send spacecraft to study the edge of our solar system – which is about 15 billion kilometers away from us – before 2049, the year of the centenary of the People’s Republic of China.”
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