In the past 50 years, on July 20, 1969, the world watched as Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. Since then, space agencies across the globe have despatched rovers to Mars, probes to the furthest reaches of our galaxy and beyond, but humanity’s curiosity and fascination with the Moon has by no means abated.
China, in collaboration with a number of international locations, is now at the forefront of lunar exploration. In an article printed on July 18 in Science, researchers laid out what the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) has completed since their launch in 2007 and their plans into the next three many years.
“Fifty years after Neil Armstrong took, ‘one small step for man, one large leap for mankind’ as the first human to set foot on the Moon, China’s CE-4 lander and Yutu 2 rover left the footprints of humanity’s first robotic visit to the surface of the far side of the Moon,” mentioned Li Chunlai, article writer and the Deputy Director-General of National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academies of Science (NAOC).
The investigation of the far aspect of the Moon led to the sudden discovery of potential lunar mantle materials on the surface—a possible indicator of the severity of asteroid impacts within the early days of the Moon. The Chinese missions additionally led to the very best decision global image and topographic information of the Moon so far.