On Jan. 3, the Chang'e-4, consisting of a lander and a rover, touched down on the far side of the Moon, which can not be observed from Earth, according to the Chinese government.
China will seek to establish an worldwide lunar base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the Chinese space agency said on Monday, weeks after landing a rover on the moon's far side.
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.
An artistic representation of the Chang'e-4 rover on the moon.
The Chang'e-5 mission, set to collect samples from the near side of the moon, will be carried out at the end of the year, while another probe will be sent to Mars by 2020, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the space administration, told a briefing, according to an official online transcript. No timeline was given.
Following that mission, China will launch Chang'e-6 to gather samples on the moon's south pole and bring them back to Earth, Mr. Wu said.
"China, the United States, Russia and European nations, among others, are all exploring whether or not to build a base or research station on the moon", he said. Chang'e 7 will conduct a "comprehensive exploration of the Moon's Antarctic, including a comprehensive exploration mission on the topography, material composition and space environment of the moon", he added.
China's first space station was expected to be operational by 2022. "We are going to test some technologies via Chang'e 8 and do preliminary exploration for a joint moon research base in the future". He said China hoped for global collaboration on its construction and welcomed other nations to use it for scientific purposes. China shared the first images taken from the far side of the moon earlier this month.