China offers lunar mission probe use by NASA


"It did not cost a lot of money. Vividly speaking, it could look like a kilometer of subway that we built."

It has also been revealed that NASA scientists have been exchanging data with the Chinese lunar team, and China has agreed to a request from NASA to use its Chang-e-4 lunar probe for future US exploration on the other side of the moon.

The request for space cooperation comes despite a Washington ban on NASA allowing Chinese officials to visit any of its ground installations and a ban on Chinese astronauts on the International Space Station.

China's lunar exploration program designer Wu Weiren said on Monday that NASA scientists had asked him if China could extend the life of the relay being used to transmit Jade Rabbit images as the explorer explored the other side of the moon.

NASA also asked whether Chang-e-4 could carry a headlamp to the moon.

Jade Rabbit, China's lunar vehicle, leaves marks on the wheels after leaving the module that touched the surface on the other side of the moon.

Jade Rabbit, China's lunar vehicle, leaves marks on the wheels after leaving the module that touched the surface on the other side of the moon.Credit:AP

The request was made last year at an international conference when American scientists learned that China would become the first nation to reach the other side of the moon.

Wu told Chinese state television: "We ask Americans why [NASA] wanted to extend the life of the relay star? He was embarrassed to say that they are also going to the dark side of the moon, and if the lifetime of the relay star is prolonged, they can use it at that moment. I said we can provide you with Chang-e 4 as beacon. "

NASA wanted to get in tune with the Earth from the Chinese lunar probe and kick space dust.

China agreed to NASA's request to provide landing time and location in advance so US satellites could register it, he said.

"This is a golden opportunity for the United States. I've always wanted to measure the state of the rising lunar dust when a meteor hits the Moon."

However, at a later news conference, he said that although US and Chinese scientists were exchanging information during the lunar mission, the US satellite failed to change its orbit and failed to provide real-time monitoring.

Although four other nations have scientific equipment at Chang-e-4 and are collaborating with China, it was widely reported that the US was not involved in the Chinese lunar mission to make history.

The so-called Wolf Amendment, introduced in 2011, links NASA funding to a ban on NASA's cooperation with China without the explicit approval of the US Congress.

The four nations (Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia) with payloads at Chang & # 39; e-4 will share the data obtained from space experiments in joint scientific groups.

Chinese scientists explained that the landing process was automated and, because of the delay in the data transmitted from the Moon, they did not know about its success until they analyzed the data.


Wu said that the Jade Rabbit was in the exploration phase and examining the terrain of the moon. "It can cover from 100 to 200 meters and observe the structure of the composition, which is essential to talk about the origin and age of the moon," he said.

Another lander, Chang-e-5, is expected to bring samples by the end of the year.

Chang-e-4's chief engineer Sun Zezhou said China chose the far side of the moon to prove that its scientists "had the spirit to explore … it was an unprecedented foreign success."

Plans for a Moon research base were in the design phase, and scientists were examining solar energy, robots, and whether it could be used to support astronauts.

Wu said the extreme weather on the moon, ranging from 100 degrees to -180 degrees Celsius, was "very challenging" and made the south pole the most likely location for a research base.

China expects its manned space station to be up and running in 2022 and working with Russia, France, Germany and the European Space Agency.

The next steps for the Chinese lunar program will be a landing at the south pole of the moon.

Kirsty Needham is China's correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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