The timing is probably not a coincidence. While NASA is struggling to launch its giant rocket Artemis 1, the first stage of the American reconquest of the Moon, its new great space rival, China, continues to multiply the sensational announcements.
At the beginning of September, a little snidely no doubt, the Middle Kingdom effectively announced the “complete success” of ground tests of engines intended for the upper stage of its future Long March 9 rocket.
In development for a few years now, with a fully reusable version similar to SpaceX’s Starship being studied, it could allow taikonauts to land on the Moon and then, why not, on Mars. To make even better figure and better mock NASA, it was specified that said engines were twice as powerful as their American equivalent.
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A few days ago, again: China announced that it had discovered a new mineral on our satellite, reported by its Chang’e-5 probe, which returned to Earth at the end of 2020 with a few handfuls of lunar dust in its holds. After Russia and the United States, China thus becomes the third nation to report such a discovery, the sixth in history in total.
A new mineral, Changesite-(Y), was discovered from the moon samples retrieved by #China’s Chang’e-5 probe, making China the third country to discover a new mineral on moon, Chinese authority said on Friday. pic.twitter.com/XjatWOtraY
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 9, 2022
This discovery could have major implications, on the Moon as on Earth, for astronauts as for ordinary mortals. Baptized Changesite-(Y), the mineral would contain, according to China,…