China National Space Administration, the state owned space corporation, may be planning a “takeover” of the Moon as part of its military space program, NASA’s administrator Bill Nelson has told newspaper Bild. During the interview Nelson affirmed that the United States was involved in the space race with Beijing.
In 2035, he iterated, China will complete construction of its own Moon station, and will launch several moon programmes. The 79-year-old NASA administrator acknowledged that the American space administration has, in fact, been “very concerned” about China’s landing on the Moon and its agenda of hijacking the Moon
For the first time, China Chang’e 4 lunar lander successfully grew plants on the Moon under its ambitious lunar mission, giving a competitive edge to NASA. Lunar biosphere experiment was conducted in partnership with 28 Chinese universities. Photographs released by the China National Space Administration demonstrated a budding cotton seed sprouting into a biological matter, in a first instance of its kind. The lunar development marked “the completion of humankind’s first biological experiment on the Moon” for China, ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily said on Twitter.
China managed to grow plants out of the rapeseed and potato seeds but the cotton seeds were the first to sprout, Professor Liu Hanlong of Chongqing University, was quoted telling South China Morning Post paper.
China’s Yutu 2 rover, as seen by the Chang’e 4 lander, on the far side of the moon. Image credit: CNSA
China lands on far side of Moon: Von Kármán crater
In a first far side landing, China’s Chang’e-4 mission delivered the Yutu-2 rover on Von Kármán crater, within the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin, a region where no human or NASA robot has ventured before. Beijing’s ‘secretive’ Moon mission landed on December 7, 2019. Chang’e-4 represented the first time that a country managed to land a soft lander on the far side of the Moon, as well as deploy a rover to explore on the lunar far side, Notre Dame planetary scientist Clive Neal, reportedly said.
In 1959, the far side of the Moon was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft and hence there are Russian names for prominent farside features, such as Mare Moscoviense. Past studies by NASA have revealed that the crust on the farside is thicker, likely making it more difficult for magmas to erupt on the surface, limiting the amount of farside mare basalts. NASA has yet to land on this region of the Moon as it may be challenging to maintain communication with Earth due to disruption to radio signals. China became the first nation to bypass this issue by fixing a relay satellite on the Chang’e-4 mission.