Chinese scientists study usefulness of manned lunar radar station

The station would feature astronaut quarters and an antenna that's 50 meters tall.

Firat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

China is currently investigating how feasible it would be to build a special manned radar station on the moon due to pricing constraints and how useful such a base would actually be.

While the project, funded by the government to the tune of 16 million yuan, launched earlier this year, would be used for scientific research and defense monitoring, it could also monitor areas on land as well as undersea and underground areas. It would feature a radar antenna 50 meters high and special astronauts' quarters as well.

The radar itself would be capable of generating 1.4 gigabytes of data per second, which outclasses the bandwidth available from long-distance space communications tech, but it would require on-site astronauts to aid in processing the data there. It would be an extremely pricey endeavor, which is what lead researchers to call it a "lunatic idea" or denounce it entirely, suggesting spy satellites could perform the same tasks at a fraction of the cost.

The Chinese goverment is supposedly looking for a "significant breakthrough" in the plan when 2020 arrives, as will the deadline for the responsible team's final report.