China's moon lander Chang'e-3 enters 28th lunar day

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China's moon lander Chang'e-3 (file photo)

China's first moon lander, Chang'e-3, awakened automatically on Thursday after "sleeping" during the lunar night, entering its 28th lunar day, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced on Friday.

One lunar day lasts approximately 14 earth days.

The spacecraft has stood the test of extreme low temperatures during 27 lunar nights since its successful soft landing on the moon in December 2013, according to a statement by SASTIND.

Although the moon lander has already exceeded its design life by 14 months, the astronomical telescope and other surveying devices it is carrying still work well.

The engineering and scientific data it has transmitted will pave the way for scientific research and future lunar probes, and the data is globally accessible, SASTIND said.

SASTIND also said that preparation for the country's next lunar probe mission, Chang'e-5, is under way, and it is expected to be launched around 2017.

The Chang'e-5 probe will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.

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