Guo also said that research on lunar samples is one of the most important ways for scientists to know about the past, present and future of the moon, and it also helps when they investigate the evolution of other bodies in the solar system.
Since becoming China’s top leader in late 2012, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has stressed the significance and value of the space industry on many occasions and has made several specific instructions to space authorities.
The president often congratulates Chinese workers when they make remarkable achievements or personally meets with their representatives.
In February, Xi met officials, scientists and engineers involved in the Chang’e 5 lunar mission, China’s most sophisticated and challenging space mission as of that time, which brought back the world’s first lunar samples in more than 40 years.
He listened to a report about lunar samples, project developments, scientific findings, international cooperation and future plans. He also inspected a sample of lunar soil obtained by the Chang’e 5 mission.
During the meeting, the president urged space industry workers to take advantage of China’s unique resource-mobilization system when they plan and carry out future space programs.
He also asked them to foster more innovation and growth in the country’s space science, technology and application sectors, and strengthen international cooperation to make bigger contributions to the well-being of mankind.
In May, after the nation’s first interplanetary mission, Tianwen 1, successfully touched down on Mars, Xi sent a congratulatory letter calling it a new milestone in China’s space industry. He said that space workers’ achievements had earned the nation a leading place in the global arena of interplanetary expeditions, and their contributions will be remembered forever.
The biggest and most important space project that China is carrying out is the in-orbit construction of its permanent space station, Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace.
Upon its scheduled completion, before the end of 2022, the station will consist of three main components-a core module attached to two space labs-with a combined weight of nearly 70 metric tons, and it will become one of mankind’s largest pieces of infrastructure in space. The entire facility is set to operate for about 15 years, mission planners have said.
The central section of the station, Tianhe, was put into orbit in April. It is now connected with the Tianzhou 2 robotic cargo spaceship, launched in late May, and the Shenzhou XII spacecraft, which transported three astronauts to the module in mid-June.
Based on project plans, the Tianzhou 3 cargo ship will be launched in September to dock with Tianhe, and in October, another three-member crew will fly in Shenzhou XIII to the module to stay there for six months.
In 2022, two large space labs will be launched to connect with the core module. In addition, two manned missions and two robotic cargo flights will be made to continue construction of the Tiangong station.
Upon its completion, Tiangong will be manned regularly by groups of three astronauts in periods lasting several months. During handovers to new three-member crews, the station will accommodate up to six astronauts.
Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Agency, said his agency will strive to make the best use of the station to advance space science, technology and application.
He said scientists will be able to take advantage of the facility’s unique environment to perform mutation breeding experiments, produce special medicines and create new materials, thus generating scientific, technological and economic benefits.
Ji Qiming, the agency’s assistant director, said that outer space is a shared asset of all people on Earth, and space exploration is a universal cause for humankind. He emphasized that China is open to cooperation and exchanges with all nations and regions around the globe that are dedicated to the peaceful use of outer space.
In addition to the Tiangong station, China has announced a series of cutting-edge programs to be carried out in the near future, ranging from deploying multiple probes on the moon to placing a lander on Mars to fetch soil and rocks and return them to Earth.
Source: Xinhua News Agency