China will make its own lunar globe soon, using pictures and data collected by its own moon orbiter, said an official in charge of the country's moon exploration mission on Tuesday.
"I believe that China will soon come up with a full map of the moon," said Hu Hao, head of the lunar exploration center under the Commission of Science Technology and Industry of National Defense (COSTIND).
"The map will help us make our own lunar globe and there may be more places on the moon that will be given names familiar to Chinese people," Hu said while addressing an online forum at www.gov.cn.
The moon globe currently used in China is made with pictures and information sent back by probes from other countries. Most of the moon's places have borrowed titles from the Earth and some are named in memory of the early days of space exploration which was carried out by the Soviet Union and the United States.
China published its first picture of the moon, captured by lunar orbiter Chang'e-1 on Nov. 26, marking the success of the country's first lunar probe project.
The black-and-white image, covering the area of 54 to 70 degrees south latitude and 57 to 83 degrees east longitude on the moon, showed a grey and rough surface with scattered round craters both big and small.
The CCD camera carried by Chang'e-1 will take a month to finish scanning the entire surface of the moon.
"The first photo showed us the moon in its real color and people can base their imagination about the planet on the photo," Hu said.
Luan Enjie, chief commander of China's lunar orbiter project, again reassured netizens about the authenticity of the picture.
"It is from our lunar probing project," Luan said.
"Some say the picture looks the same as the one taken by the United States, which I consider a compliment, since we have reached the U.S. level at the first attempt," Luan said.
"Some say there are one or two nuances, which I think deserve future studies," Luan said.
While talking about international space cooperation, Chen Qiufa, vice minister of the COSTIND, revealed that China is now discussing with Europe about exploring micro-gravity, moon orbiting and remote controlling fields as part of cooperation plans with the European Galileo Project.
So far, China has signed cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding with 13 countries, including Brazil, France, Russia and Ukraine, on space cooperation.
"China's space industry, still at a developing stage, is in need of concerns and assistance from the international community," Chen said.
"China will adhere to its principle of peaceful use of space and will never be involved in any kind of space race with any other country," Chen stressed.
He also emphasized the Chinese government's persistent stance against an arms race in outer space.
"China's lunar probing project has no military goals and there is no military equipment aboard Chang'e-1" he said.
(Xinhua News Agency, December 5, 2007)