From civilian space travel to landing people on the Moon, China reveals ambitious space exploration plans
Beijing: China aims to strengthen its space infrastructure and develop a next-generation spacecraft for carrying people to 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 has detailed plans for space exploration along with its achievements in the space sector since 2016, the Verge reported.
The achievements include expanding space capabilities, increasing the frequency and scope of its launches, and pushing into new areas such as the robotic exploration of Mars.
China has also mounted a long-term campaign of lunar exploration that entails 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 of the Moon back to Earth.
In 2021, the country also launched the core module of a new space station that will be built out in orbit around Earth. There are currently three astronauts living aboard the station, the report said.
In the next five years, China plans to send two additional robotic spacecraft to the Moon to study the lunar polar regions, areas of the lunar surface that are thought to be home to water ice.
The first probe will return lunar samples while the second will do a “hopping detection” in an area in permanent shadow, the report added.
The country is also going to “study plans for its next lunar probe as well as work with international partners to build an international research station” on the Moon, according to the white paper.
Besides Moon, China also hopes to launch probe to near-Earth asteroids in the next five years as well as study ways to send spacecraft to the Jupiter system and Mars again, with plans to bring back samples from 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, the report said.