Lunar rover named as ‘Yutu 2’
- China has named the lunar rover, successfully deployed on Thursday to carry out a string of experiments on the far side of the moon, as ‘Yutu-2’.
- Analysts say that China’s lunar probe is part of its ‘Made in China-2025’ project, which focuses on advanced technology, including space applications.
- It follows the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System — China’s homegrown Global Positioning System that started worldwide service last month. Next year China plans to launch its Mars explorer mission.
- In 2022, it hopes to complete its own Earth-orbiting space station.
- Some observers say that China’s advances can mutate into a Cold war-style competition in outer space with the United States.
- Already China and the United States are roiled in a so-called trade war. U.S. administration officials are on record stating that there deep opposition to the ‘Made-in-China 2025’ project.
A military dimension
- According to the Nikkei Asian Review, after the latest launch, Beijing is moving forward with plans to build a research base on the moon.
- It is also said to be considering mining there for helium-3, a rare substance on earth that can be used as a fuel in nuclear fusion power generation.
- The publication added that the U.S. is growing increasingly alarmed because a more advanced Chinese space programme could be translated into military strength.
- The rover has been programmed to launch ground penetration radar that would help map the moon’s inner structures.
- It would also analyse soil and rock samples for minerals, apart from activating a radio telescope to search for possible signals from deep space.
Point to remember