BEIJING: China will launch a probe to collect samples from the moon around the end of this year, a space official said on Monday, weeks after Beijing hailed the successful touch down on the far side of the moon. The Chang’e-4 lunar probe landed on Jan 3 and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon.
The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain and mineral makeup and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side. The Chang’e 5 mission will lay the ground work for further probes to be sent to the moon’s south pole and possibly to return samples from the far side of the moon, depending on the results collected in the upcoming mission, Wu said.
Tests carried out by future missions could lay the groundwork for building on the moon’s surface, by testing technologies like 3D printing or the use of moon soil in construction, he said.