China announced their plans regarding the moon. They are planning to reach the moon soon and make use of the lunar resources.
Their plans include sending two spacecrafts to the moon. One of them, Chang’e 4, is set to go in the exploration of the other side of the moon, while Chang’e 5 is responsible with the mining and collecting of the lunar minerals.
Astronomers started exploring the moon many decades ago, but China has joined the lunar race only recently. However, their plans are big. They want to extract lunar minerals. To see if this is possible, they have already prepared the mission which will gather a few samples to analyze and decide if they can or cannot mine the moon.
The first Chinese mission to the moon occurred in 2007 and, since then, the idea of moon exploration has changed. They were the first to come with the idea of mining the North and South pole of the moon to gather its precious resources.
The China National Space Administration is the organization that conducts the lunar missions. The program is called the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) or Chang’e (name taken from the Chinese lunar goddess).
Chang’e 1 was the first Chinese spacecraft to reach the moon in October 2007. It was followed by Chang’e 2 in 2010 and Chang’e 3 in 2013, which made an interesting discovery. It found a new type of lunar rock caused by the volcanic activity on the moon.
What will be even more revolutionary is the mission of Chang’e 5, that aims to gather all the necessary samples for study and then start developing the mining program. The launching of the robotic probe is set for November 2017. The second project involves Chang’e 4 that will explore the unseen part of the moon. This mission is set for 2018 and will bring about the first landing on the dark side of the moon.
Why do the Chinese want to extract resources from the moon? It is considered that an abundance of rare elements exists on the moon, and many of them cannot even be found on Earth. Also, astronomers estimated that billions of tons of ice are present at the lunar poles. This suggests one thing: that fuel is present on the surface of the moon. And this is probably enough to explain the chase for lunar resources.
China is planning to undertake one of the most important and prolific expeditions to the moon. If everything goes according to the plan, in a few years we may be mining the surface of the moon.
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