China plans to launch its second lunar probe, Chang'e-2, around
2009, according to a top satellite scientist.
Ye Peijian, chief commander and designer of China's first moon
probe satellite system, revealed the plan during an interview
program on CCTV, China Central Television.
However, Ye did not elaborate on the plan with more details.
He said Chang'e-1, the country's first lunar probe, had resumed
contact with the control center after it moved out of the shadow
area caused by an eclipse of the sun at about 14:10 on
From about 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, the satellite was blocked
from the supply of solar energy when the Earth eclipsed the sun and
lost the contact with the control center.
Scientists redirected the orbit of the satellite before the
"Chang'e-1 passed the test," Ye said, adding that when blocked
from solar rays, the probe consumed only 40 percent of the battery
power rather than the predicted 60 percent under a temperature of
minus 100 degrees Celsius.
The satellite will perform another orbital adjustment while
preparing for a second eclipse in August, he said.
The 2,350-kilogram satellite carrying eight surveying facilities
aims to make a three-dimensional survey of the moon's surface. It
will also analyze the abundance and distribution of elements on the
lunar surface and investigate the characteristics of the powdery
soil layer on the surface, and explore the environment between the
Earth and the moon.
China's moon mission also includes a landing of a rover vehicle
around 2012 and the launch of another rover that will land and
return to the Earth with lunar soil and stone samples for
scientific research around 2017.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)