When China announced plans to build its own space station, experts shook their heads in disbelief. Well, the station is already operational and working well, and the Middle Kingdom’s ambitious plans include expanding it and building a lunar base that will serve as a stopping point during the journey to Mars. Moreover, we have been hearing for some time about robots that produce bricks from lunar soil, which will be launched during China’s Chang’e-8 mission around 2028. And This time, no one is laughing at the Chinese anymore, because there is no longer any reason to doubt their cosmic abilities.
However, a permanent presence on the Moon requires a shelter that protects astronauts and future colonists from many threats, such as cosmic and solar radiation, meteorite impacts, and sudden temperature fluctuations. So why don’t we use caves again? Scientists have been talking about this for a long time, especially since the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) probe discovered… Hundreds of lunar “skylights”, that is, places where the roof of a lava tunnel has collapsed, creating natural “entrances”.. This is what China’s latest space expansion plan assumes.
Zhang Zhongfeng from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology presented research on the world of underground lava tunnels. Chinese researchers conducted field analyzes at local facilities of this type to understand how they could be used on the Moon. In their opinion, there is enough Similarities between lunar and terrestrial lava tubes to treat by analogy.
Chinese scientists suggest that although most of the skylights on the Moon have a vertical entrance, i.e. just a collapsed part of the “roof”, preference will be given to them. Lava tubes with an inclined entrance make it easier for rovers to enter and remove debris.
So, the Middle Kingdom plans A robotic system capable of exploring these tunnels – the main probe will be equipped with wheels or feet They will be built to adapt to difficult terrain and overcome obstacles. They will accompany her Support vehiclesWhich will conduct reconnaissance, assist with communications and “energy support”.
Varied to suit different tasks and can be Creeping probes, rolling probes and even bouncing probes. These support vehicles will also have scientific instruments to study lunar dust, radiation and the presence of water ice in the tunnels. China is planning too A flying robot that can autonomously traverse lava tubesUsing microwave and laser radars.
After successful robotic explorations, the time will come to establish a manned base and long-term research facility. Unfortunately, China is reluctant to share information about its projects, so we do not know any specific dates. However, there is no doubt about it The Middle Kingdom gained momentum in space exploration If he talks about something, he definitely intends to implement it.
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