Credit: XinhuaVideo/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Lunar south pole – future Moon base location?
Credit: NASA

 

China has wrapped up feasibility studies of the fourth phase of the country’s lunar exploration ambitions, and is investigating the future establishment of an international research station at the Moon’s south pole.

There may be more than 180 consecutive days of light at the Moon’s south pole, enabling crews to conduct research within this area.

Fourth phase

Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, told China Space News, that three missions are planned for the fourth phase of the lunar exploration program.

The program includes the retrieval of lunar samples from the south pole by Chang’e-6, a detailed survey of the Moon’s south pole resources by Chang’e-7, and the testing of key technologies in preparation for the construction of the lunar research station by Chang’e-8.

Credit: via Roscosmos

Roadmap formulation

According to the Xhinua news agency, Wu addressed the recent memorandum of understanding signed between China and Russia to jointly formulate a roadmap for the construction of an international lunar research station.

That MOU calls for close cooperation between the two countries in the planning, demonstration, design, development, implementation and operation of the project, Wu noted.

It will be a long-term lunar stay at the research post for Chinese astronauts, not short-term, Wu said.

As spelled out in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), Wu added, China is moving forward in promoting the development of heavy launch vehicles and achieve breakthroughs in rocket body sizes and engine thrust to support deep space exploration.

Go to this new GLOBALink video: “China plans to build research station on Moon’s south pole: chief designer” at:

https://youtu.be/I7VaIQBHr68

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