Scientists and astronomy enthusiasts all over the country all have access to data sent back from China's first lunar orbiter Chang'e-I, a leading scientist in the program said on Sunday.
Ouyang Ziyuan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and chief scientist of the lunar exploration program, said at present that the scientific instruments on board the Chang'e-1 have all gone into operation and the satellite is sending back 3 trillion bits of data per second. The total data volume will reach 28 T (1 T is equivalent to 1,000 G) next year.
"The money used for the Chang'e project comes from the taxpayers and, therefore, the data should also be made public. Any scientist or astronomy enthusiast can apply to the state in accordance with state procedures to obtain data he needs," Ouyang said.
He also refuted rumors spread by some Chinese netizens that the first image sent back by Chang'e-I "copied an image from the United States".
"Because China and the United States took pictures of the same region, it's natural that the two pictures look alike. But through careful observation you will see there are some differences in nuance," he said.
He further explained that scientists have already gained much information from the first image. "We can see many craters on the lunar surface, some are shaped like a bowl, some are circular conical pits, and most of all, there are multi-looped pits. These craters indicate that the moon has experienced different disasters."
China published the first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1 last Monday, marking success of the country's first lunar probe project. The image showed a rough moon surface with scattered round craters both big and small.
(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2007)