HomeScienceLunar station, base for human expansion

Lunar station, base for human expansion

The ILRS will have a structure on the lunar surface and another that will be orbiting

In recent days, China managed to take its Chang'e-6 probe to the Moon, which is part of the reconnaissance phase to build the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), an ambitious program to establish an area of human operations and habitat on the Earth's natural satellite.

The probe was able to successfully take soil samples as planned in the roadmap that China and Russia presented in 2021, which calls for the execution of several missions simultaneously to pave the way for the construction of the ILRS, which will have a structure in the lunar surface and another orbital surface, that is, it will be circling the Moon.

Added to this fact with the Chang'e-6 is that Russia took a decisive step on recent Tuesday after the Duma ratified the intergovernmental agreement they signed with Beijing on November 25, 2022 and in which they agreed to collaborate in the creation of the station, because it contributes to reducing costs, preventing technical and financial risks.

Humanity's plans to settle on the Moon are not new and there are other projects being developed in different countries, especially Western ones, but China and Russia are already in the lunar race and have considered creating the station in principle with a complex of basic facilities by 2035.

Already by 2045, the model will be more extensive and comprehensive for the utilization of local resources and complex large-scale operations so that humanity can explore deep space, which is why a facility of this type on the Moon is necessary to facilitate expansion beyond Earth, according to experts.

In its first stages, a command center and energy units, as well as telecommunications, will be installed, since this will help to cover the future demands of the infrastructure in which explorations and use of the Moon, experiments and technology verification will be carried out. you aim to achieve the presence of humans.

Cooperation takes place through the China National Space Administration (Cnsa) and Roscosmos. The objective of the program route is topography, geomorphology and geology work; Earth observations, biological and medical experiments based on the Moon and, among other things, using resources in situ.

Steps

The program is divided into three stages. The first is recognition, which is the stage that is currently being developed, because it is required to study the indicated sites where the base will be established. It began with the Chang'e-4 missions in 2019, Chang'e-5 in 2020 and continues with Chang'e-6 and includes Chang'e-7 by 2026.

But not only China will execute independent missions, Russia will also carry out Luna 25, 26 and 27. With all of them, they are planning to collect the necessary data and this will be followed by the second phase, which is the construction itself, which is estimated from 2028 to 2030 with the Chang'e-8 and Luna 28 missions to send the heavy cargo.

The third phase is a continuity of the second to be able to complete the construction process between 2031 and 2035. At this crucial point for the plans of both emerging powers, the possibility of sending astronauts to be permanently at the research site will be evaluated.

Experts in the field point out that the potential of this project is based on the possibility of reaching other places in the system such as Mars from the Moon, in addition to being able to transport goods to Earth, all due to the weak gravity that the natural satellite has. of the planet.

Other nations such as the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Pakistan, Belarus and Türkiye have joined this program and even Venezuela, which was the first country invited by the Government of China to join.

What is on the Moon?

The United States, China, India, Japan and other countries seek to reach the Moon through missions that have been planned and launched for some time, since the presence of various resources such as ice water, which can be divided into hydrogen and oxygen to use as fuel.

The competitor of the Russian-Chinese lunar program is Artemis, a program of the United States National Space Administration (Nasa) for the execution of manned space flights to return to the Moon and establish a long-term presence on the Moon.

India also presents a breakthrough and with its Chandrayaan-3 mission it fulfilled its most crucial objective in August 2023 and carried a module to search for water-based ice at the south pole of the Moon.

Chinese probe Chang'e-6 arrived on the moon in recent days.

Data

  • Route. In 2021, China and Russia presented the roadmap for the construction of the lunar station, which will cover 14 years until 2035.
  • Samples. The Chang'e-6 probe had a lander with a mechanical arm and a drill that allowed it to collect up to two kilograms of surface and underground material, which will be studied upon reaching Earth.

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