This Dec 14, 2013 photo shows the lunar probe Chang'e-3 on the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China. A top space official has said China's Chang'e 5 lunar probe is expected to land in the Mons Rumker region to take moon samples back to earth at the end of 2017. (Jin Liangkuai / Xinhua)
BEIJING – China's Chang'e 5 lunar probe is expected to land in an isolated volcanic formation in the northwest part of the Moon's near side to take moon samples back to earth at the end of 2017, said a top space official of the country.
Liu Jizhong, director of China Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center of China National Space Administration (CNSA), for the first time disclosed the probe landing site in the Mons Rumker region.
Delivering a report at the Global Space Exploration Conference, which opened in Beijing Tuesday, Liu said China's Chang'e 4 lunar probe, which is expected to be the first human carrying probe landing on the far side of the moon, would be launched in 2018. It will carry 11 scientific payloads, including four developed by other countries, he added.
Lunar exploration had many opportunities of international cooperation and that constructing the international moon village or international research station, proposed by European Space Agency (ESA) was also a long-term goal for China, said Liu.
We will focus on the south pole region of the moon. The research on water and the permanent shadow area of the lunar south pole region will bring greater scientific discoveries.
Liu Jizhong, China National Space Administration
"China is planning and designing its future lunar exploration program. We will focus on the south pole region of the moon. The research on water and the permanent shadow area of the lunar south pole region will bring greater scientific discoveries," he said.
China would push forward international cooperation in exploring the south pole of the moon, constructing lunar scientific research station and establishing long-term energy supply and autonomous infrastructures, he said.
Liu proposed jointly exploring the lunar polar region and constructing the scientific research station as a guide for the international moon village or station in accordance with international law.
He also proposed creating an open platform for cooperation in accordance with the principle of "sharing the risks and achievements," and to set up the International Union of Planetary Scientists and the International Union of Planetary Science College Students.
He said scientists from different countries might jointly formulate scientific objectives, develop scientific payloads and carry out scientific data research.
"Partners may develop probes and facilities independently, which will complement each other. Enterprises are also encouraged to actively participate in lunar exploration," Liu said.
At the conference, Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of CNSA, honored the international partners of China's Chang'e 4 mission, which will carry payloads from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.
China has received more than 20 schemes from other countries since proposing international cooperation on the Chang'e 4 mission last year.
"It is exactly what I was looking forward to," said Jan Woerner, director general of the ESA. "It will fit perfectly to the moon village, ESA's vision for international cooperation on the moon."
CHINA FOR PEACEFUL SPACE EXPLORATION
China wants to improve space infrastructure and develop space sciences under the principle of creating peaceful cooperation in outer space, Wu Yansheng, president of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said at the conference.
China will continue to provide services for other countries, including international commercial launches and sending satellites into orbit, he said.
China plans to send a probe to Mars around 2020, he said.
On China’s planned manned lunar landing, he said the mission will consist of a manned spaceship, a propulsion vehicle and a lunar lander. The manned spaceship and the lunar lander will be sent separately into lunar orbit, he added.
HONG KONG NEWS