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China Plans to Build Nuclear-Powered Moon Base Within Six Years

China is planning to build its first base on the moon by 2028, with the goal of landing astronauts there in subsequent years. This move represents a significant challenge to NASA's dominance in space exploration.

November 25, 2022
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China is planning to build its first base on the moon by 2028, with the goal of landing astronauts there in subsequent years. This move represents a significant challenge to NASA's dominance in space exploration.

The lunar base will likely be powered by nuclear energy, as reported by Caixin. Its basic configuration will consist of a lander, hopper, orbiter and rover, all of which would be constructed by the Chang’e 6, 7 and 8 missions.

In an interview with state broadcaster CCTV earlier this week, Wu Weiran, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, said that their astronauts will likely be able to go to the moon within 10 years. He said that nuclear energy can address the lunar station’s long-term, high-power energy needs.

China has been increasing its investment in space exploration in recent years, with probes sent to the moon, a space station in development, and plans to send a mission to Mars. This puts China in direct competition with the United States, which has a rover on Mars and is planning to return astronauts to the moon in the next decade.

Both China and the United States are investing billions of dollars in order to send humans to the moon and to access resources that could help sustain life on the lunar surface or enable spacecraft to travel to Mars.

In 2019, China became the first country to land a rover on the far side of the moon, and later brought back its first lunar samples. The base is intended to be the first outpost on the moon’s South Pole, an area scientists believe could hold water reserves. NASA is also targeting that part of the moon for exploration. China aims to eventually expand the base into an international research station.

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