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China Almost Done with Map of Moon Surface

China had collected all the data needed to draw its first full map of the moon surface and was almost done with the mapping work, Sun Jiadong, the chief designer of the country's Chang'e -1 lunar probe has said.

The lunar probe, launched on October 24 last year, was running sound and well, Sun was quoted as saying by Sunday's Beijing News.

China published its first picture of the moon on November 26 last year, captured by the Chang'e-1, the country's first lunar orbiter.

The future of the Chang'e-1, after the end of its one-year stay on the orbit, had not been decided, he said, adding that each and every system of the orbiter is working normally.

The launch of Chang'e-1 is the first step of the country's three-stage lunar probe program, which also includes the launch of a lunar rover for a soft landing and a second rover that is to collect lunar soil and stone samples for research.

China plans to land its first lunar rover on the moon in 2013.

(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2008)

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