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China's lunar rover eyes moon landing in 2012

2011-09-07 13:41    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Xu Rui
The Chinese lunar rover design

The Chinese lunar rover design

Shanghai (CNS) -- The Chang'e III lunar lander and rover, as part of the third phase of the Chinese lunar exploration program, will make breakthroughs in critical techniques in deep space exploration, such as soft lunar landing and operation during lunar nights, according to Dr. Li Ming, vice president of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) on the 4th CSA-IAA Conference on Advanced Space Technology, Tuesday.

The Chang'e III's plan will be carried out on the foundation of Chang'e II, a Chinese un-manned lunar probe that was launched on October 1, 2010. The main duties of the Chang'e III will be executed in three steps: to ultimately land on the moon, to take lunar samples back to earth, and to analyze the samples precisely.

"The critical fields the Chang'e III will be working on include soft lunar landing, automatic perambulation and exploitation, communication observation and control, as well as operation during lunar nights, on the basis of a basic system of a lunar exploration space project."

For now, the program design is still ongoing. The first model of the rover will be created in the next year. On the exact launch time, Dr. Li "hopes the earlier, the better. It is expected to be maturated in 2012 or 2013 the latest."

"The Chinese lunar exploration program has fallen behind the former Soviet Union for at least 40 years, though our technology is more advanced at the starting point. The lunar orbiter Chang'e I was independently self-designed and self-developed. Our goal is to go over the earth range and detect the solar system in the future."

"As our technologies for an airbag landing system, miniature digital transponder, and optic sensor grow advanced, it won't be too long before we touch the grounds of Mars and even Jupiter. China has already been equipped with high level technology and talents to explore deep space. It is foreseeable that China will join the lead of this area in the future. International cooperation is called upon for the good of the whole human kind."