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Chinese Manned Lunar Program Will Challenge NASA's Artemis, Aims to Mine Moon Minerals

In the acclaimed Apple TV series For All Mankind, the Soviets beat NASA to the Moon in 1969 after a series of engineering mishaps for the Americans that didn't happen in our timeline, giving the Communists the upper hand in the space race. Only then did the two nations spend the next three seasons colonizing the Moon and then Mars.
Chinese Long March Rocket 28 photos
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Well, it's crazy how reality can mimic fiction and vice versa. Right as NASA aborted the launch of the unmanned Artemis I mission to circumnavigate the Moon for the second time, not the Soviets, but rather the Chinese Space Agency is not-so-quietly ramping up a competitor. The news comes after reports from Chinese state media surfaced that their Chang'e 5 Lunar surface sample return mission detected a novel mineral now dubbed Changesite-(Y).

The novel mineral is theorized to contain high levels of Helium-3, a potentially energy-dense power source. The news comes alongside the announcement of as many as four unmanned Chinese Lunar sample return missions over the next ten years. It was later reported by Bloomberg magazine via Chinese State Media that as many as three new orbiter probes were due to be built and launched from Chinese National Space Administration launch sites in support of lander missions.

China's advancements, particularly in booster rocket technology, have been profound since the turn of the 20th century. It's likely that the latest in a line of Long March line of super-heavy booster rockets capable of lifting similar tonnage into orbit as NASA's. Assuming either of these rockets can get off the launch pad eventually.

In the meantime, it's all too easy to assume this slew of Chinese Lunar probe missions is indicative of a formal announcement of a state-run manned Lunar landing mission sometime very soon. It's an ambition the Chinese State's been increasingly more vocal about achieving. Are we about to get the For All Mankind universe in real life 50 years late? It's going to be one amazing experience finding out.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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