Russia, China Plan Moon Base by 2035

Russian and Chinese Collaboration on Moon Nuclear Power Station Project

Russian space agency director Yuri Borisov announced on March 5 that Russia is considering partnering with China to establish a nuclear power station on the lunar surface between 2033 and 2035, as reported by Reuters. Borisov explained that for potential lunar habitation points, solar panels would not suffice in providing the required power, whereas nuclear energy could meet the demand.

Yuri Borisov, Russian space agency director

Borisov also mentioned the collaboration history between Russia and China in lunar research projects and emphasized the significance of Russia’s expertise in the field of “space nuclear energy” for this endeavor. However, Borisov acknowledged that implementing such a plan poses “significant challenges.”

Previously, the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA had explored the feasibility of “using nuclear power on the Moon.” In 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced collaboration agreements with three organizations to work with NASA to construct a nuclear power station on the Moon at some point in the early part of the next decade.

Photo sent back by "Luna-25" on August 16, 2023

On the 5th of March, Borisov also mentioned Russia’s plans to develop a nuclear-powered cargo spacecraft. Apart from the challenge of effectively cooling the nuclear reactor, all other technical hurdles in this project have been addressed.

However, Reuters seemed to pour cold water on Borisov’s announcement, pointing out that Russia had previously expressed ambitious plans for “mining on the Moon,” but its once strong space program faced a series of setbacks following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Most recently, in August last year, Russia launched the “Luna-25” probe, which eventually lost control and crashed on the Moon. This marked Russia’s first failed lunar mission since 1976.

International Moon Research Station Press Conference organized by China National Space Administration and Russian National Space Group

Regarding Russia’s revelation of the “joint construction of a lunar nuclear power station with China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning responded during a routine press conference on March 6 that she was not aware of specific details and suggested that reporters address official Chinese institutions responsible for this field for detailed inquiries.

However, official space agencies from China and Russia have established a collaboration framework on the International Moon Research Station project since July 2020. Subsequently, in March 2021, China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on the project, symbolizing the formal initiation of their cooperation. One month later, both countries issued a joint statement emphasizing their determination and confidence in cooperation in lunar and broader deep space exploration, showcasing the deepening cooperation between China and Russia in space exploration.

At that time, the China National Space Administration disclosed plans to collaborate with other countries, including Russia, to jointly construct the International Moon Research Station. Bloomberg also reported that in September last year, China had signed a memorandum of understanding on lunar research station cooperation with South Africa and in October with Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan, signed relevant cooperation agreements.

The International Moon Research Station not only reflects the long-term commitment of China and Russia to promoting sustainable outer space activities but also embodies the principle of “joint discussion, joint construction, and shared benefits” in the field of space exploration. This project will drive international cooperation, promote the joint advancement of human space technology, and contribute to economic and social progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.