The China National Space Administration (CSNA) intends to build the research station in the region of the moon’s south pole, Zhang Kejian, head of CSNA, said in a public statement, Xinhua reported. That’s a bit of a departure from the six successful NASA Apollo moon landings, which took place closer to the moon’s equator between 1969 and 1972.
Details of China’s long-term lunar plans are still sketchy, but CSNA has made significant steps toward lunar exploration. Earlier this year, the Chinese successfully landed the uncrewed Chang’e-4 on the far side of the moon, and have also placed astronauts aboard two temporary space stations, Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. Their space agency also plans to put a larger, more permanent station into orbit in the coming years. [Photos from the Moon’s Far Side! China’s Chang’e 4 Lunar Landing]
Kejian also announced that Chang’e-5, an uncrewed lunar lander originally scheduled for launch in 2017, will attempt to reach the moon and return with samples in 2019, Xinhua reported.
Originally published on Live Science.