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Right now, in near-Earth orbit, the construction of the Chinese space station Tiangong is underway. At the moment, the Shenzhou-14 crew members are working on it – they tested the modules of the orbital station, conducted experiments, and even managed to go into outer space. In the meantime, they also had time to use the camera and recently sent pictures to Earth – they became available to the general public. We have to admit that the photos are impressive, and our planet looks amazing in the new pictures. In the framework of this article, we propose to consider these photos and also find out what will happen to the Tiangong station in the near future. Surprisingly, very soon it will be completed.
New photos of the Earth
The Shenzhou-14 mission launched in June 2022. Three Chinese astronauts were on board the ship of the same name: Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe. We talked about each taikonaut of this mission in more detail in our previous article.
During the mission, the astronauts took some interesting pictures that can be put on the screensaver. So, commander Chen Dong showed one of the solar panels of the Tiangong station against the backdrop of city lights on Earth. Another image captures the airglow above our planet, an effect that occurs when sunlight interacts with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The first female taikonaut, Liu Yang, photographed the full moon above the Earth and took several more shots.
Her colleague, Chinese astronaut Cai Xuzhe, showed us the island of Hainan – from there the modules of the Tiangong station were launched. He also took a photo of a tomato plant that they grow in space. Apparently, this is one of the experiments of Chinese scientists.
Old pictures of Earth from space
Shenzhou-14 is the third manned mission to the Tiangong space station. The very first was Shenzhou-12, and within its framework, the crew members also managed to take pictures of the Earth, but already from the board of the Tianhe module. For example, astronaut Tang Hongbo showed a view of the coast of Peru. He also showed off his sleeper with a blanket that keeps them from floating up in zero gravity.
The commander of the Shenzhou-14 mission, Nie Haisheng, in turn, took pictures of different parts of the African continent. Also in the photographs you can see the small windows of the Tianhe module and solar panels, which are necessary to power the station with electricity.
Astronaut Liu Boming, who was the third member of the crew, photographed from space Lake Urmia in Iran, the lands of the Kyzylsu-Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture of China, Lake Van in Turkey and the Armenian Highlands. Unfortunately, all pictures could not be found. Also, the reports do not indicate which camera the astronauts used.
The future of China’s Tiangong Station
The Chinese station “Tiangong” is almost ready. The Tianhe main module was delivered into space in April 2021. The second Wentian module joined in July 2022. The launch and docking of the third Mengtian module is scheduled for October of the same year – in theory, a few days remain before this event, but there is no news on this matter yet. At the end of 2023, the Xuntian telescope will be located near the station.
Tiangong will be the third space station in human history after Mir and the ISS. As part of three modules, it will weigh about 60 tons, so it cannot be called large – it definitely cannot be compared with the rest. However, it is planned to expand it in the future, and its mass may reach 100 tons or even more.
The Tiangong station is needed by China in order to become a major space power, on a par with Russia and the United States. Its service life is expected to be 10 years, but if all goes well, the structure could last much longer. China’s plans in outer space are very big. Offhand, we can recall that engineers from the Middle Kingdom are developing a copy of the SpaceX Starship spacecraft. In addition, Chinese scientists want to mine Martian soil in 2031, earlier than the United States.To Read Great Articles, Click Here Follow Us On Facebook Twitter Telegram