China's space ambitions have been unraveling for the past few days. First, its arsenal of planned space weapons that targets U.S. satellites and infrastructure was recently revealed, as HNGN previously reported. Now, the country mulls to establish a moon base and deploy an army of robotic ants in a bold strategy to explore space.
The moon base plans was outlined in a recent pronouncement by Liu Jizhong, China's lunar exploration director. "When exploring the unknown, we should not just follow others. China should be more creative," Jizhong said, according to Sky News.
"If China expands the range of its lunar exploration, such as exploring the south and north poles and the far side of the moon, it needs a constellation of satellites covering different areas of the moon's surface."
For the moon base, a heavy-lift vehicle will supposedly be shuttled to the moon. The proposal wants to give it a 100,000-kilogram payload to establish the settlement. This is quite ambitious, given that Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy can only handle half of the payload.
Next in China's bucket list are the space ants. For the country, they are better alternatives to rovers such as the one NASA sent to explore Mars. The robotic ants would supposedly eliminate the construction of large-scale spacecrafts to bring rovers and astronauts to space. In addition, they are designed with feet, making them more suitable for moving in uneven terrain.
"Robots with feet can avoid and cross obstacles more easily. We are researching two-feet, four-feet and six-feet robots. It seems that a six-feet robot has more advantages in mobility and flexibility in the complicated environment," said Zhang Wangjun, senior engineer at China Academy of Space Technology, Space Daily reported.
China plans to send the space ants to explore asteroid and retrieve samples to better understand the birth and the secrets of the solar system.