China has announced plans to test 3D printing technology on the Moon in 2028 as part of its ambitious space exploration program. The mission will be the first of its kind and is expected to pave the way for future space exploration and colonization. In between, China will launch the Chang’e 6, 7, and 8 missions; the Chang’e 8 probe will conduct on-site investigations of the environment and mineral composition, and also determine whether technologies such as 3D printing can be deployed on the lunar surface.

Chang’e 8 Mission to Attempt 3D Printing Technology on the Moon

In 2020, the Chinese lunar mission, known as the Chang’e 5 – named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon – brought back to Earth the first soil samples from the Moon. The ability to build structures on the Moon using local resources will significantly reduce the cost and complexity of future space missions. It will also pave the way for the development of a sustainable presence on the Moon, which could be used as a base for further exploration of the solar system. This time the Chinese authorities have planned for the conquest of the Moon and recalled some of the stages designed on this path; it will be sending out these missions to the moon in phases:

  1. Chang’e 6 (2025) will study topography and subsurface structure near the Moon’s South Pole and will also return soil samples to Earth.
  2. Chang’e 7 (2026) will explore the South Pole of the Moon for resources and will include an orbiter, a relay satellite, a lander and a small flying (jet-powered, of course) probe.
  3. Chang’e 8 (2028), which will include a lander, a lunar rover, and a flying probe. It will attempt to 3D print a moon brick from materials it will obtain on-site. In addition, a small experimental ecosystem will be located on the landing module.

Competition in Space Industry

The announcement of the 3D printing mission comes at a time of increased competition in the space industry, with China, the US, and other countries vying for dominance in space exploration and commercial space activities. The success of the mission will be not only a significant achievement for China but also a milestone in the history of space exploration.

Also read: NASA Will Pay Up to $1 Million for Innovative Ideas to Feed Astronauts in Space


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