Man is not going back to the moon but to the moon.

Man is not going back to the moon but to the moon.

Xinhua news agency, Bremen, Germany, October 4 special issue: human beings are not going back to the moon, but toward the moon.

Xinhua News Agency reporter Ren Ke Zhang Yirong

All kinds of lunar rovers are displayed by space agencies and enterprises in various countries. Scientific researchers are talking freely about the latest lunar exploration technology. Public participation enthusiasm is increasing. At the international aerospace conference held in Bremen, Germany, the moon has become one of the hottest topics.

Nearly half a century has passed since Apollo first landed on the moon. With the advancement of science and technology and the increase of lunar exploration participants, human beings are speeding up their plans to return to the moon, and such a return has far-reaching significance.

March toward the moon

"We are not going back to the moon, but to the moon!" The Director of the European Space Agency (ESA), Jan Welner, has been "correcting" people's statements on various occasions in the General Assembly.

ESA has proposed a "Lunar Village" program to build a lunar community for human work and life, not just a short stay. "The Lunar Village Project is really about building infrastructure on the moon, a village, a plan for permanent human settlement on the moon." Werner said.

NASA director Jim Briedenstin promoted the "deep space portal" program at the conference. The plan is to build a long-term platform on the lunar orbit and return to the moon several times. Unlike Apollo's plan to go to the moon, "we want to stay here when we return to the moon."

Zhang Kejian, Vice Minister of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and director of the National Space Administration, also introduced China's lunar exploration project. He said the Chang'e-4 probe, launched in December this year, is expected to carry out soft landing and patrol exploration on the back of the moon, after which Chang'e-6 will complete China's second lunar sample return mission. The project is being implemented as planned.

Bernard Fuwan, executive director of the ESA International Lunar Exploration Working Group, told Xinhua that humans and robots would be sustainable on the moon in the future. Experts from aerospace, civil engineering and mining industries will be sent to the moon, and sustainable bases will need them.

Casey Laurini, an engineer at NASA's Manned Exploration and Operations Mission, believes the "return" to the Moon is meant to be a Martian mission. The mission will test future Mars missions well, help develop manned Mars missions, reduce risk, and provide on-orbit transport capabilities for Mars missions.

Laurini also introduced the specific plan of the U. S. manned lunar landing: launch Orion spacecraft to lunar orbit and dock with the "Deep Space Portal," four astronauts then take two lunar rovers to the lunar surface in the lunar module, stationed 42 days after carrying lunar samples back to lunar orbit.

More mature technology

In order to survive on the moon for a long time, human beings and robots have a high demand for the capability of space engineering systems. Experts believe that, with the development of recent decades, human knowledge is enough, technology is gradually maturing.

Fuwan said that over the past 10 years, human exploration of the moon has been accelerating, and many countries have launched multiple detectors on the moon. China sent Chang'e three to the moon, and Chang'e four is also about to take off. India and Japan also have their own lunar exploration plans.

"Through these detectors, we have made new discoveries on the moon. These findings are helpful to scientific research, exploration and resource development. " Fuwan believes that humans now have the ability to take the next step, that is, to send robots to the moon, to build a robot base, and then to send humans to live and work with robots.

Brent Sherwood, a project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says developments in recent decades show that conditions are ripening for humans to build permanent bases on the moon. The discovery of water ice on the moon has led to the acquisition of experience with extraterrestrial detectors, widespread use of automation and robotics, and increased international cooperation in manned spaceflight.

While the United States is developing flight systems such as space launch systems, China, Japan and Europe are also actively developing their own systems, and there are also representatives of the Blue Moon and Falcon Heavy Rockets in commercial space, Sherwood said.

Global lunar exploration fever

The theme of this International Astronautical Congress is "all-inclusive", and the exploration of the moon is becoming a hot topic among the global public, with the participation of non-governmental organizations and individuals increasing.

Interstellar Rover models of lunar and Mars exploration on display by agencies and companies have become the most popular exhibits. The German Aerospace Center simulated the lunar and planetary surface environment, and established a decentralized joint wireless transmission, navigation and timing system through multiple Rover groups to achieve decentralized resource sharing and data processing functions.

Part-time scientist, a German technology startup, showed off a lunar rover model designed by the United Audi Motor Company. The part-time scientist plans to send a lunar probe and two lunar rovers to the moon in 2019 using the US space exploration technology company's Falcon 9 rocket, and build the first 4G network on the moon.

Robert Richards, founder and CEO of Lunar Rapid Transit, has also announced his ambitious plan to expand the economic and social sphere of the Earth to the Moon, making the Moon the "eighth continent" of the Earth, and to achieve commercial exploration of the Moon at a low cost. The company plans to set up a permanent research station on the moon's surface by 2021 and return the first batch of non-governmental lunar samples to Earth.

During the conference, European Airbus Defense and Space Corporation, together with Blue Origin of the United States, launched the "Moon Competition" to invite enthusiasts around the world to design technologies conducive to sustainable lunar exploration, such as the use of lunar resources to produce oxygen, water and grow food. The champion team's technology will be used for lunar exploration in 2024.

"We are going to go to the moon not just a vision, but a plan that can be achieved." Werner said.

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