Several nations want to achieve this with the Artemis programLunar exploration to be avoided sustainably “the mistake” This was achieved with the Apollo missions, the program of which was canceled after Apollo 17 in 1972 due to high operating costs and the virtual end of competition with the Soviet Union to achieve this goal. From this point on, the focus was on robotic exploration, while the emphasis was on human missions “limited” also in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Now this one moon however, has become a priority again and has changed the approach to space exploration. Although Russia also has natural satellite exploration projects, Russia is the United States’ main competitor China.
The Asian country has confirmed several times that it intends to send one human crew on the moon Before 2030 while the construction of a base on the lunar surface called ILRS (International Lunar Research Station) is planned for the following years. This project emerged as a collaboration with Roscosmos and other agencies/nations, so ESA also began to think about possible collaboration. The difficulties encountered with Luna-25, and probably other information about Russia’s reliability in continuing such complex cooperation, may have reduced its contribution to the project. An ambitious plan that could also be supported by similar but even more complex projects in the future.
China and the idea of a base beneath the lunar surface
Several missions are planned for ILRS. In particular, Chang’e-8 now has a humanoid robot instead of the hopper, and this type of device will be the basis of the underground base on the moon. Obviously, this is a project that is still far from being realized (realization could probably begin around 2040). The suggestion comes fromHarbin Institute of Technology (HIT) and includes several operational phases after China will have established a concrete lunar exploration program.
A first phase includes a Goal in orbit around the moon which allows Chinese astronauts to reach the surface after docking with a spacecraft. Of rover They will search the lunar subsurface to look for the most suitable area to build the underground base. Once the appropriate location has been identified, a rocket is sent that collapses the upper part of the naturally formed cavity with the debris that can be cleared thanks to other measures robot.
The innermost part of the cavity is also cleaned to make it suitable for housing the future base. From that Goal is sent to the surface a module/Lander that can enter the cavity to form a main survival structure for the Chinese astronauts.
Additional environments can be created around the module, expanding the available volume. The main structure will protrude a few meters from the surface and will be protected by a dome. Outside there will be several antennas for communication with the Earth and the various spacecraft, while other structures may emerge nearby (e.g. tanks for fuel and air, etc.), as well as solar panels for electricity generation. In general there will be extensive use of the extracted material on sitesuch as the lunar regolith, which can be used as concrete pits to create living spaces.
It is estimated that inside the modules there is a constant temperature of 25 °C, while temperatures in the cavity vary between 17 °C and -43 °C and on the surface between 117 °C and -173 °C. The idea of taking advantage of that caves present below lunar surface is not new and this project comes from China is currently still a suggestion. The ability to live beneath the lunar surface would have several advantages, such as protection from meteor impacts as well as lower temperature ranges and radiation absorption. In general, however, it is an unrealizable project in the long term and could be the beginning of permanent activity on the Moon.