China's lunar probe to target rarely explored Bay of Rainbows   2010-10-01 20:40:20 FeedbackPrintRSS

XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- If lunar satellite Chang'e-2 sends back high-resolution photos of the Bay of Rainbows, the mission can be deemed a complete success, said the chief designer of China's lunar exploration program Friday.

Wu Weiren said Chang'e-2 would take high-resolution photos of the moon's Bay of Rainbows area, the proposed landing ground for Chang'e-3.

Wu said four to five areas had been chosen for a landing ground for Chang'e-3, but the Bay of Rainbows would be the first choice.

"The geological structure in this area is diverse, so a probe there would have greater scientific value," he said.

"Other places on the moon have already been landed on, so we want to choose one that has not been explored before," he said.

"Previously, most lunar programs landed around the equator of the moon, an area easier for monitoring and control maneuvers, but Chang'e-3 will take on greater challenges."

The Bay of Rainbows, or Sinus Iridium, is located at about 43 degrees north latitude and 31 west longitude with a width of 300 kilometers. It is considered one of the most beautiful features on the Moon.

Chang'e-2 blasted off at 6:59:57 p.m. Friday from the launch center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The lunar probe will test key technologies and collect data for future landings of Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-4, and provide high-resolution photographs of the landing area.

Chang'e-2 was built as an alternative to Chang'e-1, which was launched in October 2007 and maintained a 16-month lunar orbit. The series of Chang'e probes is named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.

Special Report: China Launches Lunar Probe Chang'e-2


Editor: Zhang Xiang
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