Space Stories: Chinese Lunar Nuclear Station, Helium Exoplanets, and the UAE Lunar Rover

Image (Credit): Artist’s rendering of a lunar exploration base. (NASA/Dennis Davidson)

Here are some recent stories of interest.

Republic World: “China Plans Development Of New Nuclear System To Power Its Bases On Moon By 2028

China is developing a nuclear system that will be used to power its lunar station planned to be developed on the Moon’s South Pole. Wu Weiren, chief designer of the Chinese lunar exploration programme, told Chinese broadcaster CCTV that this new system will fulfill the ‘high-power energy demands’ of the station, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. Notably, the station is being developed by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos and is expected to complete by 2028.

University of Chicago: “Many Planets Could Have Atmospheres Rich in Helium, Study Finds

For centuries, no one knew if we were alone in the universe—or if there were even other planets like ours. But thanks to new telescopes and methods in the past decades, we now know there are thousands and thousands of planets out there circling faraway stars, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes—large and small, rocky and gaseous, cloudy or icy or wet. A study by scientists with the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland suggests another for the list: planets with helium atmospheres. Moreover, the discovery may suggest a new step in our understanding of planet evolution. Their simulations found that it’s likely that helium would build up in the atmospheres of certain types of exoplanets over time. If confirmed, this would explain a decades-long puzzle about the sizes of these exoplanets. “China and United Arab Emirates Plan Lunar Rover Mission

The United Arab Emirates’ fledgling space program took another step forward last month, securing an agreement to collaborate on China’s planned Chang’e 7 lunar mission, set to land near the Moon’s south pole in 2026. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai will build a small robotic rover, which will hitch a ride on the Chang’e 7 lander, according to the agreement signed Sept. 16 between MBRSC and the China National Space Administration (CNSA).