Scientific station on the moon
China plans to establish a scientific station on the moon and has started preparatory research, according to a key figure in the country's lunar exploration program.
"The next steps in our lunar exploration endeavor will be challenging and demanding as we aim to set up a scientific outpost on the moon's south pole. In the near future, we will also send our astronauts to land on the moon," said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, on Tuesday.
He is now working on the planning and feasibility research for the proposed station and the lunar program's fourth step.
In China's most recent lunar mission, the Chang'e 4 robotic probe, which consists of an unmovable lander and a rover named Yutu 2, was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket in December 2018 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, marking the country's fourth lunar exploration and the world's first expedition to the far side of the moon.
The probe made a soft landing on the far side on Jan 3, 2019, and then released Yutu 2 to roam and survey the landing site in the South Pole-Aitken basin.
So far, the lander and rover have operated for more than 610 days. Yutu 2 has traveled about 520 meters on the lunar soil.