China aims to launch three unmanned missions to the moon over the next 10 years. It seeks to rival the US in the new era of space exploration. Notably, China’s National Space Administration received approval to send three orbiters to the moon as part of the Chang’e lunar program.
The announcement came a day after China said it discovered a new lunar mineral, via samples retrieved by its Chang’e-5 mission. Named Changesite- (Y).
China Aims To Launch Three Missions
It was described by the state-run Xinhua news agency as a kind-of colorless transparent columnar crystal. It’s also said to contain helium-3, an isotype that’s been speculated as a future energy source.
NASA is seeking to put astronauts on the moon again this decade. Both countries are eyeing the moon’s minerals with space mining expected to be the next source of tension.
The two sides have been trading barbs in recent weeks, after the US’s Artemis I mission. It may be mentioned that NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has accused the country of stealing space technology, and the country has been criticized over space debris.
China’s lunar exploration program was established in 2004. The program launched its first spacecraft three years later. The Chang’e program takes its name from the Chinese moon goddess, and has been recently focused on collecting samples from the lunar surface.
NASA is also targeting that part of the moon. The government official stated on September 10 that China aims to eventually build a moon-based international research station.