China to Launch Chang'e-3 in Early December
   2013-11-26 19:08:42      Web Editor: Yangyang


China is scheduled to launch its Chang'e-3 lunar probe to the moon in early December.

It will be the first time a Chinese spacecraft will soft-land on the surface of an extraterrestrial object.

CRI's Qizhi has more.

China is in the final stages of preparing its moon-lander as scientists have now completed tests on the Chang'e-3 lunar probe.

Wu Zhijian is the spokesperson with the State Administration of National Defense, Science, Technology and Industry.

"We have already finished all the research work and tests on Chang'e-3. The carrier rocket and the lunar probe have already been transferred to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. If everything goes according to plan, the lunar probe will be launched in early December."

Chang'e-3 is comprised of a lander and a moon rover which can travel at a speed of 200 meters per hour.

The rover is officially named as Yutu, meaning jade rabbit, after being selected from among thousands offered worldwide.

Once it lands on the moon, Yutu will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances while looking for natural resources.

The moon rover is expected to land on a plain of basaltic lava on the moon known as Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, and operate there for three months.

Scientists say the world's previous lunar missions were near the lunar equator and no country has surveyed the Bay of Rainbows yet.

As the second phase of China's lunar program, Chang'e-3 lunar probe is expected to orbit the moon, then propel down to the landing site and finally return to Earth.

Scientists say the mission will be the most complicated task in China's space exploration as 80-percent of the technology used in Chang'e-3 is new.

Li Zhengben is the deputy commander of the lunar probe program.

"In every stage of our research and development, from the plan design to final production, we have done a large number of tests to avoid potential risks. Based on the tests, we have prepared backup plans for the mission. We have hypothesized the problems that may come up during the launch and exploration and worked out possible solutions. However, despite of all the preparation, it is the first lunar landing mission for us, there will be some risks."

Chang'e-3 comes after the success of China's lunar orbiters Chang'e 1 and 2, which returned a catalog of lunar surface imagery after launching in 2007 and 2010.

The lunar program will also see breakthroughs in remote control between the moon and Earth.

For CRI, I'm Qizhi.



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