Platforms able to spend more time in orbit sure are needed, and that’s why China is ready to take the idea of building a huge spacecraft very seriously. China’s National Natural Science Foundation is counting on scientists to figure out how such a spacecraft can be made.
The exciting news comes from South China Morning Post, detailing that scientists will join a project lasting five years. The ultra-large spacecraft will be spanning entire kilometers.
An outline of the project wrote, as quoted by SCMP.com:
[Such a spacecraft] is a major strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, exploration of the mysteries of the universe and staying in long-term orbit.
Ten proposed research outlines were released earlier the current month by the mathematical and physical sciences department of the foundation. Five projects capped at 15 million yuan (meaning 2.3 million USD) each will be funded.
Assembled in space
The published outline adds that the modular spacecraft would need to be launched multiple times and assembled in outer space. Otherwise, the structure would be too big and heavy for a one-flight launch.
It’s exciting to see that China keeps taking space exploration so seriously. The country’s Zhurong rover continues to explore the surface of Mars directly after inserting into the planet’s orbit back in February. Zhurong aims to probe the environment of the Red Planet and look for signs of water ice on the surface.
Mars remains a great destination for space explorers, as astronomers still hope to find some signs of microbial life. From all of the planets of the Solar System except Earth, the Red Planet is pretty much the only object that could theoretically sustain some life in primitive forms.