China aims to go deeper into space

As China’s exploration of the moon progresses, its space experts have begun considering going deeper into the solar system – to Mars, asteroids and Jupiter – and a manned deep-space mission.

At a recent conference on deep-space exploration in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, an official urged scientists and technologists to have a pioneering spirit.

“When exploring the unknown, we should not just follow others. China should be more creative,” said Liu Jizhong, director of the lunar exploration program and space engineering center under the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

Far Side Of The Moon

Some Chinese scientists have suggested landing a probe on the far side of the moon, which would be unprecedented. Although China has not officially announced the plan, experts have begun to prepare the technologies needed.

Zhang Lihua, a researcher with China Spacesat Co., Ltd., said exploring the far side of the moon is of great scientific importance. Many countries have designed their own plans for such a mission.

Manned Or Unmanned?

China has yet to start a manned deep-space exploration program, and experts hotly debate whether it’s necessary to send humans into deep space, or just let robots do the job.

Guo Linli, a researcher with the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), said humans will inevitably go deeper into space from near Earth orbit to the moon and then to Mars.

“Can robots replace humans to explore deep space? My view is that robots are suitable for repetitive, heavy loading, and fixed and known work. But it needs human wisdom to decide on unknown work that cannot be simulated in lab, such as surveying and choosing a site for a future lunar base,” Guo said.

Asteroid “Ants”

“Robots with feet can avoid and cross obstacles more easily. We are researching two-feet, four-feet and six-feet robots. It seems that a six-feet robot has more advantages in mobility and flexibility in the complicated environment,” Zhang said.

This finding echoes those in the United States, Europe and Japan, where researchers have developed robots imitating cockroaches, spiders and ants.

Full article: China aims to go deeper into space (Spacedaily)

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