The Chinese Chang’e-8 mission is preparing to study the resources of the Moon

Chinese engineers gave the details of the Chang’e-8 mission. In 2028, it should land at the south pole of the Moon and begin exploring the resources available there, primarily water ice. This is done in order to prepare for the construction of an International Lunar Research Station, which is conceived by the Celestial Empire.

Chang’e-8 mission. Source: CNSA

When will Chang’e-8 fly to the Moon

Representatives of the China National Space Administration on October 2 at the 74th International Astronautical Congress announced the timing of the Chang’e-8 mission. It is expected that it should launch from the Wenchang spaceport with the help of a Long March 5 carrier and land near the south pole of the Moon in 2028.

The mission will consist of a lander, rover and robot. Its main purpose will be the study of local geology, the study of collected samples on the spot, and the invention of ways to use them further. A closed ecosystem will also be tested. All this should become the basis for the future creation of an International Lunar Research Station, which China is developing as opposed to the American Artemis program.

In general, the Chang’e-8 lander will carry 10 scientific instruments with a total weight of 200 kg as a payload. These will be landing and topographic cameras, a seismometer, radiometer, multispectral camera, a soft X-ray telescope, as well as other instruments. Four more instruments will be placed on the rover.

China’s Space Plans

The International Lunar Research Station, for which all this is being done, should be the greatest achievement of the Chinese space program. Although it is being created in opposition to the American project, China does not position it as exclusively Chinese. On the contrary, representatives of the country strongly emphasize the possibility of foreigners participating in its work.

Earlier, representatives of China repeatedly talked about broad plans for the exploration of the Solar System. And, apparently, they have a clear plan of action for at least the first few years. First, the Queqiao-2 relay satellite should be deployed in the orbit of the Moon. This should happen in the next few months.

Then, in the first half of 2024, Chang’e-6 is due to launch, which, for the first time in history, will bring samples to Earth from the far side of the Moon. In 2026, the Chang’e-7 mission should land at the south pole of our moon. And only after that, it will be the turn of Chang’e-8.

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