Europe has joined hands with China and Russia for a joint scientific research station on the Moon, a Chinese space official said.
Deputy director of China National Space Administration (CNSA) Wu Yanhua told Xinhua news agency that space authorities of Europe and Russia have agreed to “jointly explore the plan to build a scientific research station on the Moon”.
The news came on the day when India launched its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, to explore and perform studies on the south pole region of the Moon.
The landing of the spacecraft is expected in the first week of September.
“The joint exploration will focus on the scientific objectives of the station, as well as system-related or mission-based discussions,” Wu said.
Speaking at an international conference on exploration of the Moon and the deep space in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province, Wu added that the three partners will “jointly plan and design the station, coordinate their implementation of the plan and ultimately share the scientific results”.
Notably, Japan’s Hayabusa2 space probe also successfully touched down on an asteroid in space last week. The mission is believed to have collected the first-ever asteroid subsurface samples.
It is expected to return to Earth in winter 2020.
Another Chinese space official said that the construction plan for the station is “expected to be completed after two to three years of deliberations by an international team of scientists”.
“An intergovernmental coordination committee on the lunar research station will be established,” said Pei Zhaoyu, who is deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center at the CNSA.