A Chinese scientist on Wednesday called for moon probe program experts in China, India and Japan to step up cooperation to "deepen mankind's understanding of the moon."
Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist for China's moon exploration program, said the three countries shared goals on moon probe while each had its advantages.
Taking a full map of the moon's surface, detecting minerals and studying the space environment were the common goals, he said.
Each country had its unparalleled technological competitiveness, and he expected more cooperation and hoped to see more contributions made by the scientists in the three Asian countries.
Ouyang's comments came only hours after Chinese scientists revealed the country's first full map of the moon's surface, which was hailed as the most complete image of the moon surface yet published.
The picture was released more than a year after the launch of China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1.
An official also announced on Wednesday that China would launch a second lunar probe, Chang'e-2, before 2012, as part of its three-stage moon mission.
The eventual goal is to bring lunar soil and stone samples back to earth for study in about 2017.
"Chang'e" is named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.
In 1990, following the Soviet Union and the United States, Japan became the third country to orbit the moon after sending the Hiten spacecraft. India launched an unmanned lunar orbiter last month.
(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2008)