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China’s three-step lunar exploration project

09-25-2010 16:02 BJT

China’s entire lunar exploration project is divided into the three steps of “orbiting,” “landing,” and “returning.”

The first step is the “orbiting.” It means launching China’s first lunar probe satellite and reaching the aerospace technical level of approaching an exo-planet. During this step, the lunar probe satellite will orbit the moon, and with its remote sensing measures, it will obtain three-dimensional pictures and videos of the lunar surface, detect the amounts and varieties of useful elements on the lunar surface, probe the qualities of the lunar soil, and also explore the space environment between the earth and moon while flying to the moon. The Chang’e-1 satellite, China’s first lunar probe satellite, was launched on Oct. 24, 2007.

The second step, implemented between 2007 and 2010, is the “landing.” This means launching the lunar soft-lander and reaching the technical level of landing on an exo-planet. The soft-lander with a lunar rover will soft-land on the surface of the moon and automatically carry out surveys to detect the topography, landforms and geologic structure of the landing area, as well as the chemical and mineral compositions of lunar rocks and the surface environment of the moon. The lunar rover will take lunar rock samples and analyze them on the spot. The astro-space environment among the sun, earth and moon will be monitored and the moon-based astronomical observation will be carried out. The specific method is using the lunar rover and robot that have safely landed on the moon to detect the rocks and minerals of the landing area, check the thermal currents and surrounding environment of the area, take high-definition pictures and videos, and take samples of lunar rocks and analyze them on the spot. This way, chemical and physical parameters of the lunar surface can be provided for the site selection of the future moon base.

The third step, which will be implemented between 2011 and 2020, is “returning.” This means launching the lunar soft-lander off the moon and reaching the technical level of sending a spaceship back to the earth from an exo-planet. During this step, the soft-lander with the samples will be sent to the earth, and the samples will be studied and researched on the earth so that people’s knowledge regarding the origins and development of the earth-moon system can be deepened. The main goal of this step is carrying out lunar surface surveys and sending back the samples. After the three steps of “orbiting,” “landing,” and “returning” are all completed, China’s unmanned lunar probe technology will become much more sophisticated, and it will not take too long for China to land people on the moon.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CNTV.cn

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