It's an ambitious plan.

Moon Bricks

Chinese researchers have a wild idea to start constructing a shelter on the surface of the Moon.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is encouraging companies and researchers to come up with a special device that can squeeze moon soil into bricks, as well as a robot to assemble them into an early prototype habitat of a future research station on the Moon's south pole.

As the South China Morning Post reports, such a device could be put to use as soon as its planned Chang'e 8 mission, which is tentatively scheduled for 2028.

Construction Site

The mission is set to deliver hundreds of pounds of scientific equipment to the Moon, including a total of 14 instruments designed to study the nearby geology and how explorers might make use of local resources.

One of those instruments is slated to be a lander that uses solar energy to melt lunar soil into "functional parts," per the SCMP, at roughly 16 cubic inches per hour.

The space agency is also looking to develop a robot that can prepare a working area and start assembling these bricks with a "high degree of accuracy."

Just over 440 pounds of Chang'e 8's mission payload will be reserved for international partners working with China.

Rapid Chang'es

It's a wildly ambitious plan, but given the immense momentum behind China's space efforts, it just might have a chance of coming to fruition.

In 2019, the country became the first to land a rover on the far side of the Moon as part of its Chang'e 4 mission. The country quickly followed up the achievement with a sample-return mission in 2020, the first of its kind since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 mission in 1976.

Last month, the CNSA's Chang'e 6 lunar probe arrived at the country's Wenchang spaceport to get ready for a launch in May. The plan is to send four different spacecraft to the far side of the Moon, collect samples, and bring them back to Earth.

Chang'e 7 is slated for 2026 and will see a lander, a small hopping probe, and a rover aim for the lunar south pole.

Of course, constructing a permanent structure on the lunar surface, which is frequently rocked by Moonquakes, is even more ambitious. However, given the country's rapid advancements when it comes to lunar exploration, it may just have a shot.

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