China's first lunar probe, the Chang'e One, has completed its mission and crashed into the moon. The spacecraft had spent 16 months in orbit.
The Chang'e 1 satellite impacted the lunar surface at 4:13 p.m. Beijing Time on Sunday.
The spacecraft was launched in October, 2007 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It was the first step in China's three-stage lunar program.
During the past 16 months, the lunar obiter has sent back about 1400Gb of scientific data including pictures of the Moon, images of the lunar surface and maps of the distribution of elements on Moon.
Ouyang Zhiyuan, chief scientist of China Lunar Exploration Project, said, "We set four major goals for this orbiting program. Through all of our scientists' work, I think these goals were completed well. Some of the tasks were more than fulfilled."
The data sent back by the orbiter will be released to Chinese scientists for free. 124 scientific representatives from about 70 colleges and 30 institutes across China have formed an experts' committee to analyze the data. After a year, the data will also be given to scientists abroad.
(CCTV March 2, 2009)