China plans to launch space missions that would search for habitable planets that can be colonised by humanity, said Yuan Jie, executive director and president of CASC, speaking about the country’s space exploration programme for 2030-2045. Addressing 500 students at Beihang University, Yuan said that CASC’s Mi Yin project, which means “searching sound”, would see space missions examining exoplanets and assessing their habitable potential, noting that Mi Yin is a huge priority for the country’s space agency in the next decade. He noted that these projects would mark a breakthrough for Beijing in the field of basic research.
CASC will send spacecraft with state-of-the-art telescopes, infrared detectors, and other equipment that can withstand the harshest environments and low temperatures, looking for planets that have all the necessary conditions for humans to live. Yuan said that CASC plans to launch a Mars probe in 2020, with a landing on the Red Planet expected a year later.
Speaking about the space agency's other upcoming projects, Yuan said that CASC plans to start building a long-term near-Earth manned space station in 2020, as well as to carry out the third stage of its lunar exploration programme. NASA, meanwhile, plans to land astronauts on the Earth’s natural satellite by 2024 with its Artemis missions, while Russia has planned to establish a lunar observatory by 2025, according to Roscosmos' executive director for science and long-term programmes.