Chinese scientists and engineers are working on designs for a lunar base which will include new energy development and living space expansion according to a manager on the Chang`e-3 spacecraft, speaking at the Shanghai Science Communication Forum, as reported in the Peoples Daily. Zhang Yuhua affirmed that China`s lunar sample return mission, Chang`e-5, is scheduled for 2017, which is an acceleration of their original timetable, based on the success of the current mission. Chang`-4 will incorporate some of the new technologies needed for the highly complex later sample return. The sample return will allow a detailed analysis of the Moon`s minerals, chemistry and other characteristics necessary to precede sending people to the moon.
Zhang Yuhua described the activity of a lunar base as setting up agricultural and industrial production. The most often cited lunar energy source by Chinese scientists is the isotope, helium-3, which barely exists on the earth, but has remained largely undisturbed on the inert lunar surface, having been deposited there by the Sun. Current fusion experiments use deuterium and tritium (D-T) for fuel(two isotopes of hydrogen), but the helium-3 deuterium (D-He-3) reaction will be a more advanced fusion fuel. Unlike D-T, the D-He-3 fusion produces its energy mainly as charged particles,not neutrons, and can for example be converted directly to electricity. (Report by www.LaRouchepac.com January 2014)