China has lost the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a partner for its Change-7 Lunar South Pole mission, according to recent reports. The mission, which aims to study the lunar south pole region, was scheduled for launch in 2024 and would have been China’s second robotic mission to the moon.
The UAE had signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) in 2019 to collaborate on the mission, providing a lunar rover and conducting scientific experiments. However, the UAE Space Agency recently announced that it would no longer be participating in the mission due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
The Change-7 mission is part of China’s ambitious plans to explore the moon and establish a permanent lunar base. The mission is designed to study the geology, mineralogy, and environment of the lunar south pole region, which is believed to contain vast reserves of water ice that could be used to support future human missions.
China has not yet announced whether it will seek a new partner for the mission or proceed with the mission alone. However, the loss of the UAE as a partner is a setback for China’s lunar exploration plans and could delay the mission’s launch.
China’s first lunar mission, Chang’e-4, successfully landed on the far side of the moon in 2019 and is still conducting scientific experiments. The country also plans to launch a sample-return mission, Chang’e-5, later this year.