|A simulated image of China's unmanned moon landing. (Chinanews)|
According to Zhang Yuhua, deputy general director and deputy general designer of the Chang’e-3 probe system, Chinese aerospace researchers are working on setting up a lunar base.
In a recent speech at the Shanghai Science Communication Forum about the future plans for China’s lunar exploration, Zhang Yuhua said: “In addition to manned lunar landing technology, we are also working on the construction of a lunar base, which will be used for new energy development and living space expansion.”
She further explained that after the future establishment of the lunar base, mankind will conduct energy reconnaissance on the moon, set up industrial and agricultural production bases, make use of the vacuum environment to produce medicines, etc. She said: “I believe that in 100 years, humans will actually be able to live on another planet.”
About the Chang’e-5 mission that is planned for launch around 2017, Zhang said: “Technically, the Chang’e-5 mission is harder than Chang’e -3 and Chang’e-4. It will bring back 2 kg of lunar soil samples, take off on the lunar surface and realize rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit. We shall be very creative in the technologies required to achieve those goals.”
For the manned lunar landing that many people are interested in, she explained that after the completion of the Chang’e-5 mission, the lunar exploration program and the manned space program will be combined to realize a manned lunar landing. She added: “The manned lunar landing has not yet secured approval from the national level authorities, but the research and development work is going on.”