According to Chinese scientists, China is planning to begin the construction of a lunar base within the next five years. China will be using lunar soil to create the first bricks for the base. NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson, has already warned that China may occupy resource-rich lunar regions by reaching the moon before others. Discussions between more than 100 scientists from domestic universities were held at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.
The agenda were the plans for the country’s crewed moon base. Chinese experts are developing a brick making robot named “Chinese Super Masons” that will help build the habitats on the moon. NASA has its plans to build a permanent base on the lunar south pole.
China aims to build first and send humans later while the USA plans to land astronauts on the lunar surface in 2025. While the first brick may be coming to the moon within the decade as a technology test on the Chang’e 8 mission, it could take a lot longer for humans to settle there.
It might take 20 to 30 years or longer for humans to settle on the moon, but China wants to start working together now. The robot tasked with making the “lunar soil brick” will be launched during China’s Chang’e-8 mission around 2028. China previously retrieved soil samples from the near side of the moon with its Chang’e-5 mission in 2020. The country has stated that it wants its astronauts to stay on the moon for long periods once it establishes a lunar research station.
China is aiming to retrieve the world’s first soil sample from the far side of the moon in a mission around 2025. China, the US, and their respective allies are vying to get to the moon first this decade. Getting to the moon first could give either nation an advantage in terms of claiming territory or setting a precedent for other practices, like resource mining, for the new era of exploration on the moon and beyond to Mars. NASA is legally prohibited from collaborating with China since Congress banned the agency from doing so in 2011. Nobody can truly own the moon, but international outer-space law is a wide-open field that will probably change drastically as nations set up permanent bases on the moon.
The moon has become a milestone in space exploration, and developing bases is a priority for the future Mars missions. In 2021, China officially announced its cooperation with Russia to build the International Lunar Research Station. This station will initially be fully autonomous. According to Space Force Lieutenant General Nina Armagno, in past years, China’s progress in space exploration has been “stunning”.
China’s space program has recently managed to launch its own crewed space station.
Ding Lieyun, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, mentioned that building a habitat on the moon is essential for long-term lunar exploration and will certainly be realized in the future.
Experts in China are exploring possibilities for the country’s crewed moon base and ways to build infrastructure on the moon.