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Scientists' View: Why Do We Venture to the Moon?

Dec 20, 2013     Email"> PrintText Size

What is the lunar mission for? 

Lunar exploration is significant if measured from a long-term perspective, explained Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's lunar orbiter project.

The availability of precious resources on the moon will trigger a race for energy one day. “If we are indifferent to this opportunity, it will be very difficult to safeguard our future interests, not to mention the right to speak ,” warned Ouyang. 

The moon may be a promising Persian Gulf” in the solar system because of its vast reserves of helium-3, an isotope that has the potential to fuel nuclear fusion power plants without producing radioactive waste, said Yang Yuguang, a researcher from China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. Helium-3 is very rare on the Earth but is thought to be abundant on the moon.

From the perspective of astronomy, the moon provides another precious resource  a unique space environment.

An astronomy observatory and research base on the moon could be run at low cost but yield high-precision results because of its atmosphere-free environment characterized by ultra high vacuum, low magnetic field, weak gravity, zero pollution, and abundant cosmicradiation.

But the worth of space exploration cannot be determined by how much commercial value itreturns, commented Lin Yangting, a meteoroid researcher at Chinese Academy of Sciences. A nation must be forward-looking, and take into consideration the fact that scientific research conducted today may become a matter of critical importance in the coming decades.  (People's Daily Online)

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