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Watch China’s bizarre new plans for lunar base race with egg habitation domes that can resist moonquakes

CHINESE researchers are pushing ahead with plans to build egg-shaped habitation domes on the lunar surface, according to state media.

The domes, called Yuehuzun, will be houses and work spaces for China’s astro-scienists.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology
In previously released CGI clips of China’s master plan for the moon, it’s clear the country wants a lunar base on a city-like scale[/caption]
Huazhong University of Science and Technology
The egg shape is supposed to be able to withstand the extreme environmental conditions, as well as violent moonquakes[/caption]
China National Space Administration
China’s space city located on the lunar south pole will “support humankind” in travelling to “deeper space,” according to the nation’s space agency[/caption]

Researchers at China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology believe they can 3D-print blocks to build the oval shelters from lunar soil.

“The 3D printing technology allows us to quickly build some structures on the lunar surface,” Zhou Cheng, professor at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, explained.

“It is a method that enables us to use in-situ materials, and also a way to complete large-scale construction on the lunar surface.”

The egg shape is supposed to be able to withstand the extreme environmental conditions, as well as violent moonquakes.

Like the strong tremors felt on Earth, moonquakes can cause damages to buildings and future astronauts.

However, moonquakes can last for several hours, unlike ones on Earth.

Researchers are therefore developing an airbag that would be built into the Yuehuzun to shield the structures from shocks and also insulate them from the moon’s frigid temperatures.

“The eggshell-shaped ‘Yuehuzun’ can grapple with the extreme environmental challenges on the moon,” added Zhou.

“What’s more, it’s design features a two-story and hollow structure that incorporates internal heating system.

“It can reduce the consumption of materials, so a balance between how it is consumed and how it performs can be achieved.”

In previously released CGI clips of China’s master plan for the moon, it’s clear the country wants a lunar base on a city-like scale.

This features various launch sites, fields of habitation domes and fleets of autonomous robots.

‘Long-term exploration’

China’s space city, currently destined for the lunar south pole, will “support humankind” in travelling to “deeper space,” according to the nation’s space agency.

Both China and the US plan to use the moon as a refuelling base to fly to Mars and beyond.

While the US fears China plans to claim the moon as its own territory, Beijing is adamant the base is designed only for research.

The lunar base, formally known as the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), is a partnership between 11 countries, including Russia, Belarus, Pakistan, Egypt and South Africa.

By 2035, a basic model of ILRS is hoped to have been built to house lunar scientific experiments. 

A decade later, in 2045, China aims to have a city-like base, in what it calls an “extended model” of the basic ILRS.

As things stand today, China is aiming to start work on its Disneyland-sized International Lunar Research Base (ILRS) no earlier than 2028.

Race for the moon

By Millie Turner, Technology & Science Reporter

The ongoing chest pounding between the US and China has sparked a Renaissance for the space race of the 60s.

And Nasa boss Bill Nelson hasn’t shied away from calling it a “race”, either.

Both nations are taking their Earth-bound tech war – where the pair are currently caught fist shaking over computer chips, AI and TikTok – to the stars.

While China was late to the first round of the space race, Beijing is investing heavily in becoming the second nation to put humans on the Moon by 2030.

Under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, China spent roughly $14billion (11.2billion) on its ambitious space programme in 2023, according to Statista.

Washington and Beijing currently have the most developed plans for securing separate permanent bases on the Moon, out of any other country in the world.

But the White House and Nasa are gunning to be the first ones there.

In January, Nelson said he believed the “race” was over for China, and that the US was heading towards its home straight.

Nelson has been outspoken of his fears should China pit them to the post.

China’s military presence in the South China Sea signals how the country might behave on the lunar surface, Nelson claimed, which would breach the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

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