China Space Program Plans to Build a Nuclear-powered Moon Base by 2028

John Lopez

China is looking to establish its first base on the lunar surface by 2028. This is part of the country’s plans to send its astronauts to the moon in subsequent years, a challenge to NASA’s revived space supremacy.

Local news outlets report that China’s planned moon station will be built on the moon’s south pole, and it will be completely nuclear-powered.

Nuclear-powered Moon Station

The Straits Times tells us that the station will consist of a lander, hopper, orbiter, and rover, all of which will be constructed by the Chang’e 6, 7, and 8 missions. Chang’e 5 was the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program’s fifth lunar exploration mission and the country’s first lunar sample-return mission.

Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Chinese lunar exploration program, told state media on Monday, Nov. 21, that the said moon program is developing a new system that uses nuclear energy to address the moon station’s long-term, high-power energy demands.

“Our astronauts will likely be able to go to the moon within 10 years,” Wu Weiran told the press.

The exploration program designer did not disclose additional information about the planned lunar nuclear reactor. A report from the South China Morning Post tells us that the reactor could generate 1 megawatt of electricity. Estimates suggest that such power is enough to power a small town in a single year.

Nuclear power is a clean energy source with no traces of emissions. Nuclear energy generates power through fission, which is splitting uranium atoms to release energy. If this plan proves successful, China will be the first to establish a strong foothold on the lunar surface, opening the floodgates to further exploration into space.

Also, according to SCMP, the station will later be upgraded to a global scientific research facility where occasionally, astronauts from China, Russia, and other prospective partner nations will operate.

A recent press release from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) tells us that President Xi Jinping is eager to collaborate with other countries on space research and development in order to make greater use of space technology for the benefit of all people on the planet.’

A Reignited Space Race

In the last 15 years, China has increased its visions for space exploration, sending probes to the moon, developing its own space station, and focusing on Mars. The Chang’e lunar programs, the Tianwen 1 Mars expedition, and the Tiangong space station program are just a few of the noteworthy missions China has carried out in the field of space research.

Fortune tells us that CNSA’s space goals have placed it in a direct rivalry with the US. NASA has a rover on Mars and plans to send men back to the moon for the first time since the Apollo program came to an end in the 1970s this decade.

In addition to sending astronauts to the moon, China and the US are investing enormous sums of money to access resources that might support life on the moon or send spacecraft to Mars.