You are here:   Home/ Features

Lunar Probe Boosts 'Chinese Dream'

Xinhua News Agency, December 3, 2013 Adjust font size:

China launched the country's first moon rover aboard its Chang'e-3 lunar probe on Monday, bringing Chinese dreams of reaching the moon tantalizingly close.

If Chang'e-3 successfully soft-lands on the moon in mid-December as scheduled, China will become the third country, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to do so.

Space exploration has been a risky undertaking. Only 51 percent of mankind's 129 lunar probe attempts have been successful.

The successful launch is only the first step of the Chang'e-3 mission. Over the coming months. it will have to withstand multiple tests of soft landing, the separation of the rover from the lander, survival on the moon surface and remote control.

The moon rover is tasked with surveying the moon's geological structure, surface substances and looking for natural resources.

Chang'e-3 is part of the second phase of China's lunar program, which was initiated in 2004 and 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.

After orbiting for 494 days and intentionally crashing onto the lunar surface, Chang'e-1 sent back 1.37 terabytes of data, producing China's first complete moon picture.

Launched on October 1, 2010, Chang'e-2 verified crucial technologies for Chang'e-3 and reconnoitered the landing area. 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.

China is looking to realize the third step of its lunar program in 2017, when it will hopefully land a probe on the moon, release a moon rover and return the probe to Earth.

Despite the fast progress of the lunar mission in the past decade, China is still a newcomer in this field, as other space powers achieved moon landings about half a century ago.

The former Soviet Union first landed its probe on the moon in 1966, while the United States first sent human beings to the moon in 1969.

1   2    

Bookmark and Share

Related News & Photos