To date, China's most distant mission has been to send an orbiter and rover to Mars. The devices will arrive there next month and begin exploring the planet for strictly scientific purposes, namely in search of signs of life.
CNSA announced that from 2021, the country will send research missions to objects traversing the solar system in order to learn the history of the formation of the closest space, the Earth, and the origin of life on it. Until now, missions have focused more on the search for valuable resources. It will continue to do so, but there will also be a scientific element.
In addition to the Moon and Mars, the next big target will be Callisto, the moon of Jupiter. It is one of the most mysterious places where biological life can flourish. The Chinese are intrigued by Valhalla, the largest multi-ring impact crater in the solar system. This is an amazing facility that ignites the imagination.
Valhalla looks like a spider's web or a damaged reinforced glass struck by a lead ball. The main ring is 360 kilometers in diameter, but the whole ring is 1,900 kilometers in diameter. The crater owes its unusual appearance to powerful shock waves that swept across the globe. Valhalla can be up to 4 billion years old, which is almost the same as our planet.
Astronomers believe that the structure of the crater reveals very important information to us. Callisto after hitting the cosmic rock would not look like it does today if there was not a huge ocean of liquid water below the surface. It was he who cushioned the impact, thanks to which today we can admire the beautiful crater and at the same time he encourages us to send a mission there to search for traces of life in it.
The Chinese, however, intend to bake two birds on one grill. First, they will start exploring the vicinity of Jupiter on the LIFEHACKER and Mars, and second, the very cosmic rock that struck Callisto may be hiding valuable resources in Valhalla. They can help China create the first mine in the depths of the solar system and extract raw materials from it for the purpose of organizing further missions, perhaps even further, because on the borders of the system.