China to advance lunar exploration program

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The lunar samples No. 001 brought back by Chang'e-5 probe is displayed at the National Museum of China in Beijing, Feb. 27, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China will push forward its phase-4 lunar exploration program this year, including a planned mission to bring 2 kilograms of samples from the far side of the moon back to Earth, Wu Weiren, chief designer of the country's lunar exploration program, revealed on Monday.

Wu said China will continue its lunar research with the Chang'e-6, Chang'e-7 and Chang'e-8 missions. The Chang'e-6 mission is scheduled to complete the sample-return task, and the Chang'e-7 mission will involve landing on the lunar south pole and detecting water resources.

The Chang'e-8 mission will be launched around 2028 and will work in collaboration with Chang'e-7 to build a basic model of a scientific research station on the moon's south pole, including multiple exploration instruments such as orbiters, landers, rovers and flying craft, Wu noted.

The Chang'e-5, launched in 2020, was China's most recent lunar mission. Its probe retrieved a total of 1,731 grams of soil samples from the near side of the moon.

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