China is one of the countries with their sights set on lunar exploration, revealing their major plans for the next three decades.
Apart from a sample-return mission in the 2020s, the team is also planning to complete a robotic station at the moon
in the near future.
China's Plans Of Exploring The Moon
In a new article published
in the journal Science
, Li Chunlai and the other authors detailed all the accomplishments of the China Lunar Exploration Program since their inception in 2007. The paper also included many of their plans for space exploration in the future.
"Fifty years after Neil Armstrong took, 'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind' as the first human to set foot on the Moon, China's CE-4 lander and Yutu 2 rover left the footprints of humanity's first robotic visit to the surface of the far side of the Moon," Li, who is the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academies of Science deputy director-general, said
in a news release.
With the Chinese trip to the far side of the moon
, scientists were able to uncover the existence of possible lunar mantle material on the surface. These lunar missions also resulted in the highest resolution global image and topographic data of the moon yet.
Li noted that CLEP played a huge part in technological innovation, particularly in lunar remote sensing, lunar geomorphology, and lunar geology.
CLEP's next mission named Chang'e 5 is slated for early 2020 with the goal of collecting lunar rock and soil and sending it back to Earth in a sample-return spacecraft.
A Robotic Outpost
Eventually, China's astronomers plan to pour their resources and knowledge into the creation of a Lunar Scientific Research Station. Li and the rest of the team wrote
that the robotic scientific research station prototype will be the culmination of their technological and space innovation.
It's scheduled to be in place by 2030 in order to carry out various tasks for experiments as well as host astronauts during long-term lunar missions
According to Li, the team is open to collaborating with other countries with regards to space missions in the future.
"The Moon belongs to all of us. Just as the Apollo program played a positive role in promoting the development of human society, China will work with countries around the world in its forward-looking lunar and deep space exploration projects," Li said. "We hope to cooperate with other countries in the exploration, research and utilization of the Moon to jointly create a better future for humanity through achievements in space science and technology."