Friday, October 12, 2012

'China's grand plan for lunar exploration'

China's second lunar orbiter, the ultimately successful Chang'e-2, is mated to it's launch vehicle in preparation for launch in October 2010. According to official state-owned news sources, the determined and methodical China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) marches on.
Wang Xiaodong
China Daily

A lunar probe scheduled to be sent to the moon in 2017 by China will bring back enough samples from the surface of the moon for research by various institutes, according to Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist for China’s lunar exploration project.

“The sample acquired by Chang’e-5 will be distributed to qualified institutes of many different sectors in China for research,” Ouyang, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said after an event organized by the Chinese Society of Astronautics to celebrate World Space Week.

A UN Generally Assembly resolution adopted in 1999 declared Oct 4-10 each year as World Space Week, to celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.

“We will gather the strength of the whole nation for achievement of the highest level. And we will do what others haven’t done yet,” Ouyang said, referring to the research into samples to be brought back by Chang’e-5.

China’s lunar probe project consists of unmanned moon exploration, a manned moon landing and building of a moon base. Currently, China is in the first stage.

China launched its Chang’e-1 orbiter in 2007 and Chang’e-2 in 2010, and got a great deal of scientific data and a full high-resolution map of the moon.

China is scheduled to send its third probe, Chang’e –3, to the moon next year. After the sampling of the moon’s surface is done around 2020, China will start a manned lunar mission. But there is no clear timetable for that, Ouyang said.

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