China aspires to commence construction of a lunar base within half a decade, employing robots capable of fabricating bricks from the moon’s regolith, according to a Reuters report on Thursday, which referenced a Chinese scientist as quoted by local media.
Over 100 Chinese researchers and space industry delegates recently convened in Wuhan, a centrally located metropolis, to deliberate on prospective techniques for establishing infrastructure on the lunar surface. Ding Lieyun, an authority from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, revealed that his team is in the process of developing “Chinese super bricklayers” – robots adept at producing bricks from moon soil, as reported by the Changjiang Ribao newspaper.
Ding noted that “creating a habitable environment on the moon is essential for long-term exploration and will undoubtedly be realized in the future,” although he conceded that achieving this in the near term would be challenging. The brick-manufacturing robots are slated to be dispatched to the moon on the Chang’e-8 mission, scheduled for approximately 2028, the scientist disclosed. He further stated that China aims to retrieve the first soil sample from the so-called dark side of the moon by 2025.
Chinese media reports indicate that the nation has already acquired soil samples from the near side of the Moon in 2020, as part of the Chang’e-5 mission. China’s CNSA space agency has declared intentions to establish a permanent research station on the lunar surface, where taikonauts would reside for extended durations. Reports have also emerged regarding a pact between CNSA and Russia’s Roscosmos to construct a joint lunar base prior to 2036.
It is worth noting that both parties have committed to close collaboration in space-related endeavors until 2027, as per the agreement announced on March 9 last year. A letter of intent was signed at that juncture, outlining the framework for peaceful and scientific lunar exploration, and the development of a joint outpost on the moon. Consequently, the path to plan and execute the International Moon Science Station (MNSK) has been cleared, with the ambition of completing construction by 2035.