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China's lunar probe to land on moon next month

English.news.cn   2013-11-26 13:36:21            

BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- China is scheduled to launch Chang'e-3 lunar probe to the moon in early December, marking the first time for a Chinese spacecraft to soft-land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body, an official said Tuesday.

Chang'e-3 encompasses a lander and a moon rover called "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit). The lunar probe will land on the moon in mid-December if everything is successful, said Wu Zhijian, spokesman with State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

The Chang'e-3 mission is the second phase of China's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth. It follows the success of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.

Chinese scientists have made technological breakthroughs for the Chang'e-3 mission, which will be the most complicated and difficult task in China's space exploration, Wu said.

"More than 80 percent of the technologies adopted in the mission are new," he said.

The mission will witness China's first soft landing and exploration on an extraterrestrial object, remote control of the lunar probe and deep space communications, Wu said.

Scientists must ensure a timely launch because of multiple narrow windows of time. Different trajectory parameters have to be adopted quickly as intervals between the windows are very short, he said.

Many technologies will be used to ensure the probe makes a soft landing on the moon's surface under low-gravity conditions, Wu said.

The rover will separate from the lander to explore areas surrounding the landing spot, he said.

The lunar program will also see breakthroughs in remote control between the moon and Earth and survival of the rover on the lunar surface.

Technologies of high precision observation and control as well as lunar positioning will be used in the mission, which also includes experiments that would be extremely difficult to conduct on Earth's surface, he said.

Related:

Backgrounder: Timeline of China's lunar program

China names moon rover "Yutu"

BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- China has chosen the name "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit) for its first moon rover, after a worldwide online poll challenged people to come up with names.

Li Benzheng, deputy commander-in-chief of China's lunar program, announced the name at a press conference on Tuesday.   Full story

China's Chang'e-2 lunar probe travels 60 mln km

BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Lunar probe Chang'e-2 is more than 60 million kilometers away from Earth and has become China's first man-made asteroid, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Still in good condition, Chang'e-2 is heading for deep space and is expected to travel as far as 300 million km from Earth, the longest voyage of any Chinese spacecraft, Wu Zhijian of the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) told reporters at a press conference.   Full story

 

 

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