Watch out, moon, China is coming for you, and they have big plans for what lies beneath your surface. China is getting involved in the new space race this time, and their plans include being the first to mine the moon for its precious resources.
A mission set for later this year would involve gathering samples from the moon and laying the groundwork for a future mining operation on the lunar surface, which holds all sorts of precious minerals and other resources that are difficult for us humans to access, to say the least.
China’s Chang’e 5 mission will be the program’s first major effort to get on the moon. It will involve sending a robotic probe that will land on the lunar surface and retrieve a sample that it will take back to Earth for study. That mission is set for this November, and would be China’s first ever sample retrieval mission in space.
The previous lunar mission, Chang’e-3, involved discovering a new type of moon rock that was caused by volcanic activity long ago. And in 2018, China plans to send Chang’e-4 to the far side of the moon, another first. Here’s an article on the project from China’s state run news agency Xinhua.
China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 lunar probe at the end of November this year, from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China’s Hainan Province, aboard the heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5.
The mission will be China’s first automated moon surface sampling, first moon take-off, first unmanned docking in a lunar orbit about 380,000 km from earth, and first return flight in a speed close to second cosmic velocity, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
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