Wang Jianyu, head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, announced on Monday that after two years' research, his institute has finished developing a laser altimeter for Chang'e 1, China's first lunar orbiter, due for launch in 2007.
The device will measure the distance between the satellite and the lunar surface through remote sensing technology. It can function over a range of about 200 kilometers, with a five-meter error and one-meter resolution.
According to Wang, the data acquired, once processed by systems on the ground, will provide useful information that will help analyze surface features and detect the thickness of lunar soil.
Assuming everything goes to plan, it will be the first time that China has sent a laser instrument into space.
Wang also said that while developing the laser altimeter, his institute also produced four key optical remote sensing instruments for a new generation of weather satellite, Fengyun 3, and the Environment 1B satellite infrared camera.
The Fengyun 3 instruments have been developed to international standards with independent property rights.
The infrared camera uses four wave bands that can help to accurately and rapidly detect and forecast storms, forest fires, typhoons and earthquakes as well as ecological damage and environmental accidents.
(China.org.cn by Wang Qian, May 18, 2005)