back to article Russia, China say anyone will be able to use their south pole Moon base for 'peaceful' science and exploration

Russia and China have signed an agreement to collaborate on the construction of an International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) on the Moon's south pole. The Memorandum of Understanding stated that China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Russia's State Space Corporation (Roscosmos) would work together to consult, …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So there will be a Moonbase after all

    It will be fascinating to see what problems arise and what solutions will be found - if, of course, they can avoid the Glorious Reporting Of Successful Communist Achievements reporting style.

    I'm guessing it's time to sign up. A Moon base is an endevor that not even a billionnaire can achieve alone.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: So there will be a Moonbase after all

      An announcement isn't worth anything until they actually start launching modules to the Moon. It isn't as if the US hasn't talked about this on and off for decades. Though an authoritarian government like China's and Russia's does make it less likely they'll change their mind after the planning stage when they see what it costs, as has happened in the US every time so far.

      If nothing else, if China and Russia look serious about this it might be what finally makes the US decide to do it. Of course they'd choose to do a separate effort (and invite Europe, India, etc. to join) instead of joining China/Russia, because today's partisan politics would never allow the US to join someone else's plans.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: So there will be a Moonbase after all

      Count how many space vehicles and projects Russia has announced in the past decade, and not delivered anything past marketing slides. Take your time, I know there's a lot.

    3. Spherical Cow
      Joke

      Re: So there will be a Moonbase after all

      With the first Moonbase (let's call it "Alpha") located at the lunar south pole, it would be logical to put the nuclear waste dump at the lunar north pole. When the inevitable happens, we now know which direction the moon will be going.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: So there will be a Moonbase after all

      Ah, Moon Base Alpha. I hope they are a little more careful with radioactive waste disposal this time round.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: So there will be a Moonbase after all

        Agreed. I don't see what all the fuss is about, because there's been a base on the moon since 1999. I know because I saw it on the TV.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone got any thoughts what Russia is bringing to the collaboration? A few years ago China needed Russian expertise in things like manned vehicles, spacesuits, cryogenic engines and the like; but they've advanced so quickly it's hard to see what specialist knowledge or capability Russia can bring to the table. Let alone all the scope for delays, endlessly-changing plans and corruption which have eaten the Russian space programme alive and left it a sad, shell of its previous glories.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      It brings the word "international" versus being something China would announce doing alone.

      Russia has decades of experience with launching spacecraft, while China may be ahead of them technologically in an overall sense, there's no way they've caught up to Russia space-wise yet.

    2. Muppet Boss

      >Anyone got any thoughts what Russia is bringing to the collaboration?

      The Chinese are planning to launch Chang'e 6, 7 and 8 landers to the Moon's south pole performing preparatory steps for the robotic lunar station: explore the Moon for natural resources and test utilizing them.

      The Russians are planning to send Luna 25 and 27 landers to the Moon's south pole and Luna 26 polar orbiter to study the potential use of lunar natural resources.

      The Chinese and Russian landers will work in the same region of the Moon and the missions have similar scientific goals.

      While the letter of the memorandum is about the future joint lunar base, the spirit of it is about not interfering and where possible cooperating when researching the Moon's south pole for natural resources in the forthcoming missions.

      This is in addition to the existing agreements on cooperation between Chang'e7 and Luna 25 missions and on cooperation to share lunar research data ("on cooperation in the creation of a joint data center for the exploration of the Moon and deep space").

      >Let alone all the scope for delays, endlessly-changing plans and corruption which have eaten the Russian space programme alive and left it a sad, shell of its previous glories.

      Not in the last place due to incompetent, militarist mentality top management under international sanctions, I should add.

      Cheers.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shagging.

  4. David Pearce

    I don't see how an orbital station is usable. The Moon has no protective magnetosphere, so in a low lunar orbit you would still need massive radiation shielding.

    At least on the surface you can dig in

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      The idea of a manned lunar research station is just a castle in the air. It took the equivalent of $288 billion to get pairs of men to spend a few weeks total on the moon in a portaloo. And a three thousand ton rocket was required to get each portaloo there.

      The idea of spaffing perhaps a hundred times that, say £30k per Chinese citizen, on some sort of national penis extension, sorry "scientific research", is nonsense.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Things have moved on a bit in 50 years. You may recall that earlier this year the Chinese sent a probe out to the Moon, landed it, dug up about a kilo of the moon's surface and transported it back to Earth. It was a facsimile of the original lunar expedition except this time there were no people involved, just machines.

        China has at least done quite a lot of work on stuff at home such as poverty reduction, transport infrastructure, reduction in fossil fule use and all that other stuff we keep talking about but somehow never quite seem to be able to get together.. This project is a useful enough way to soak up excess productive capacity ("keep people employed") although I personally doubt the usefulness of putting actual people there given that we're just aout at the point where we can be there virtually, just as good but without all the life support burden.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I personally doubt the usefulness of putting actual people there given that we're just aout at the point where we can be there virtually, just as good but without all the life support burden.

          You do know this article is about a proposed manned lunar base? I agree with you that manned space flight is mostly unjustifiably expensive since it is possible to achieve the results with a few special exceptions for a small fraction of the cost. BTW the Soviet Union managed to return a lunar sample to Earth as far back as 1976.

          China has not achieved any reduction in fossil fuel use, not is it likely to any time soon. It saw overall consumption of the fossil fuel increase by 0.6% from 2019 to 2020, to 4.04 billion tonnes.

          1. batfink Silver badge

            perhaps it's a per capita measure

  5. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Holmes

    Anyone!

    Provided they can get there.

    1. MacroRodent

      Re: Anyone!

      The key is under the doormat.

  6. MacroRodent

    Prime real estate

    The lunar South Pole seems to be the preferred destination. Wonder if it will eventually get crowded there, with astronauts fighting over particularly favourable tent sites.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    It will be the first moon base with a wall built all around, just in case someone wants to go out in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like invaders from the Mongolian Moon base to the East?

  8. llaryllama

    The moon is part of China since ancient times.

  9. x 7

    Moonbase = Missile base

    Good place to launch your nukes from

    Or lasers

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