(ORDO NEWS) — In the coming years, China plans to send the Chang’e-7 spacecraft to the moon to explore the craters of eternal darkness and find frozen water. This became known from an article published in the scientific journal Space: Science & Technology.
Craters of Eternal Darkness are places on the Moon where the sun never shines on the floor and where water ice could presumably be preserved.
The Chinese space program includes several phases of lunar exploration. In 2024, the Chang’e-6 spacecraft is scheduled to launch, which will collect soil samples from the far side of the moon. Then, around 2026, Chang’e-7 will go to the Moon, which will land on the South Pole. It is here that the search for frozen water will be carried out.
Scientists and engineers from the Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Engineering Center of the Lunar Exploration Program of the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) have developed a special flying vehicle that can reach the bottom of the crater.
This distinguishes it from traditional lunar rovers, which cannot penetrate such depths. An analyzer mounted on a mini-flying probe will look for water molecules in a layer of frost on the Moon’s surface. If molecules are detected, the probe’s drilling tool will take a sample of the ice, and the arm will transfer it to the spectral analysis apparatus.
In addition, two more devices for studying lunar ice will be placed on the Chang’e-7 orbital module. This will provide more complete information about the content and distribution of water ice on the Moon.
The use of lunar water is an important condition for a long stay of man on the Moon and in deep space. However, the source of lunar water ice is still a mystery. Therefore, this mission is of great scientific importance.
The Chinese space program also includes the launch of the Chang’e-8 spacecraft in 2028. It will be used for experiments on the use of lunar resources and the creation of a basic model of the International Lunar Research Station.
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