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Thread: China's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #151
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    A nice chart that shows China's known moon ambitions till 2017. It dose not include Chang'e-4 which we now know will be launched in 2019 to the moon's south pole. Come March when China's next 5 year plan is released there should be details of their next steps to explore the moon.

    It also includes links to the pictures taken by Chang'e-2, Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-5-T1

    http://www.space.com/27670-china-moo...fographic.html

  2. #152
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    Came across this article 2017 timeline contents. One of the highlights in 2017 is "China launches an unmanned sample return mission to the Moon". Go to the article and there is a 8 minute video of a simulation of Chang'e-2, Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-5 flights.

  3. #153
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    Well when the Chinese do travel to the moon, they will be greeted with familiar names. this reports says there are 22 lunar features that have been given Chinese names.

  4. #154
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    Emily Lakdawalla take on the latest Chinese Luna missions announcement. She has more details then the article I posted here. For example she has the month of the launch and also a communications relay satellite (based on the design of Chang'e 2) will be launched in June of 2018, and will take up a position at the Moon-Earth L2 point, where it will be able to see both the landing site and Earth.

    Also included is a map showing the Chang'e 3 site with the lander and rover(Yutu) clearly marked. It also contains the new names given to some of the more prominent features around the site.

    Thanks Emily for sharing.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...e-program.html

    An article about Chang'e 4 appeared on the website of China Daily today, and it contains a small amount of news about China's present and future lunar exploration plans. Thanks to @sinodefence on Twitter for the link and to scientist Quanzhi Ye for some help with translating the news.

    It had already been reported that China planned to send Chang'e 4 (the backup model of the Chang'e 3 lander) to the lunar farside. The intent to land on the farside was announced on the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program website on December 2. The China Daily News article mentions launch dates, and they're earlier than previously discussed. A communications relay satellite (based on the design of Chang'e 2) will be launched in June of 2018, and will take up a position at the Moon-Earth L2 point, where it will be able to see both the landing site and Earth. The lander will be launched at the end of 2018. There is still no official word on what the lander's scientific payload will be, or even if it will carry another rover. Interestingly, the article mentions some kind of public involvement in the payload development. China already has experience navigating lunar orbiters to the L2 point.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2016-Jan-29 at 06:58 AM.

  5. #155
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    A 2 minute video interview with Liu Jizhong, dean of Lunar Exploration & Aerospace Engineering Center on the Chang'e 4 mission. The part of the video that caught my eye was the pictures of Chang'e 4 towards the end of the video. There is a rover. To me the rover looked a lot bigger then the one used on the Chang'e 3 mission. That could be possible as Chang'e 4 will be launched on top of a LM 5 rocket.

    http://english.cntv.cn/2016/01/15/VI...B7160115.shtml

    China has announced it will launch its next major lunar mission- the Chang'e-4 probe- before 2020 which, in a first for China's space efforts, will be partly funded by private investment. The craft will conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s far side, the first such probe to do so in human history.

    A giant leap, both for China, and the world. The Chang'e-4 probe will explore the far side of the moon, a mysterious world, that always faces away from Earth.

  6. #156
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    This report from China confirms what Emily Lakdawalla stated in her post. Chang'e 4 will be launched on 2018.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/20..._135010577.htm

    China has officially begun a new round of lunar exploration and will send the Chang'e-4 probe to the far side of the moon in 2018, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced Thursday.

  7. #157
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    Just reread the news report from China that I posted in the thread above (#156) and realized I missed something very significant it contains.

    In the last paragraph it says "China also plans to launch its Chang'e-5 lunar probe to finish the last chapter in China's three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program. " . It started the report with "China has officially begun a new round of lunar exploration and will send the Chang'e-4 probe to the far side of the moon in 2018,".

    This implies that Chang'e 4 is just the begging of this new phase. I wonder what else is in this new phase? Does it include a manned landing on the moon or will it end with just a manned orbit around the moon. The manned landing and the moon base being a future objective. Hope China's next 5 year plan due to be published in March contains the overview of the plans. (the present 5 year plan had "China's three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program").

  8. #158
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    Ever wondered if you could access the data the Chinese moon missions have sent back to earth. Well, wonder no more, this article will give you the links you are looking for and what you have to do to access it.

  9. #159
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    This article is about hyperspectral imaging but it contains pictures taken by Cheng'e 1 of the moon using that technology. It was used to identity different layers of mineral deposits in the lunar crust.

    http://www.popsci.com/china-to-launc...tral-satellite

    Since the 1970s, China has a strong history of scientific and civilian utilization of hyperspectral imaging. Space-based platforms include the Chang'e lunar missions and Earth-observation from the Tiangong space station and HJ-1 small satellite. Aircraft-mounted hyperspectral imagers are used for tasks such as environmental surveys, oil prospecting, disaster relief and crop measurement. As computer processing power improves and hyperspectral sensors get smaller, Chinese civilian and military applications are likely to expand.

  10. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Ever wondered if you could access the data the Chinese moon missions have sent back to earth. Well, wonder no more, this article will give you the links you are looking for and what you have to do to access it.
    If you tried accessing the data, you would have met some challenges along the way. Now thanks to Emily Lakdawalla there is a much easier way to get to it. She has done all the hard work, and is making it accessible from her site.

    Thanks Emily.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...et-change.html

    In a recent guest blog post, Quanzhi Ye pointed to the Chinese version of the Planetary Data System, and shared the great news that Chang'e 3 lander data are now public. The website is a little bit difficult to use, but last week I managed to download all of the data from two of the cameras -- a total of 35 Gigabytes of data! -- and I've spent the subsequent week figuring out what's there and how to handle it.

    So, space fans, without further ado, here, for the first time in a format easily accessible to the public, are hundreds and hundreds of science-quality images from the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover. I don't usually host entire data sets (PDS-formatted and all) but I made an exception in this case because the Chinese website is a bit challenging to use.

    Chang'e 3 Yutu rover panoramic camera (PCAM) data released as of January 20, 2016
    Chang'e 3 lander terrain camera data (TCAM) released as of January 20, 2016

    And here are just a few of the goodies contained therein. You may want to keep Phil Stooke's landing site map and Yutu route map handy for reference as you look through these!

  11. #161
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    Ignore the politics in this article and concentrate on China's Plans for the moon. One line that caught my attention was that Russia has taken the Chinese invitation to foreign nations to include their instruments in the Cheng'e 4 probe. Russia is contributing a lunar dust surveyor

    There is also a lot of information of Cheng'e 4 mission itself.

    http://www.larouchepub.com/other/201...r_mission.html

    Speaking to the Yangguang network, Liu Jizhong said, “Chang’e-4 will utilize the distinctive features of the far side which are screened from the Earth’s radio waves to develop a space science region in a forward position for a low frequency radio astronomy survey that hopefully will fill in some of the blanks in our knowledge.”

    The mission will study the geology and the dust features, and how they were formed. Liu explained, “Utilizing the very old rock of the lunar crust preserved on the far side of the Moon, we can investigate its geological characteristics, and hopefully by doing that, pull together for the first time a topographical configuration of the far side, its shallow structure, the composition of the lunar material of a particular cross-section, and attain a picture of its evolution, creating new knowledge about the history of the planet.” Russian scientists have contributed a lunar dust surveyor.

    The mission will also measure lunar surface residual magnetism and study its interaction with the solar wind—a magnetized plasma consisting primarily of protons and electrons.

  12. #162
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    The article below is from 2009 but it is looking at China's long term plans. As expected dates have slipped but we are very close to testing the LM5 and this is key to their circumnavigation mission according to the article.

    Also more details of their LM9.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/...oted-lunar.htm

    The absence of evidence on these human lunar exploration goals does not mean something is not happening. It can be quite to the contrary and more often than not it should be a red flag warning that something is indeed going on that will eventually manifest itself. Although the human lunar circumnavigation mission is clearly technically feasible through two different means there is no certainty of any committed program. However, the parallel development of the required technologies in both the launch vehicles along with the crewed human Shenzhou spacecraft, EVA and docking systems technology for the committed space station long term goals as well as the potential not openly committed human crewed lunar circumnavigation and lunar orbit mission capability can not be ignored except at the US own geopolitical technological surprise expense. Only the PRC’s political leadership decision has to be instituted to carry this out for it to be accomplished within the next three five year plans but China remains silent on this issue. Equally Russia could do much the same thing at anytime they choose politically to make it a State program.

    One day we may wake up to a Russian and or Chinese geopolitical technological surprise and realize that with little warning that Russia or China has launched a precursor un-crewed earth orbital rendezvous (EOR) lunar circumnavigation mission to be followed by a human lunar circumnavigation mission soon afterwards. Once the CZ-5 booster becomes operational after 2013-2014, the single launch circumnavigation mission becomes possible and the lunar orbital mission becomes possible through EOR.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2016-Feb-14 at 02:24 PM.

  13. #163
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    China going out of their way to ensure the moon samples from Chang'e 5 are not contaminated.

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/968761.shtml

    Chinese scientists have developed a system to measure the leak rate for a vacuum environment which will be used in the country's third step moon exploration program.

    According to scientists at the Lanzhou Institute of Physics under the China Academy of Space Technology, the measurement system will help scientists figures out a better way to preserve samples from the moon, which are stored in a vacuum capsule, increasing the accuracy of research.

  14. #164
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    Now a top Chinese official says it openly the Cheng'e 5 sample return is a step towards a human lunar landing.

    http://gbtimes.com/china/chinas-2017...scientist-says

    The comments were made by Hu Hao, chief designer of the China Lunar Exploration Program's (CLEP) sample return phase and a deputy to the National People's Congress, China’s top legislative body.

  15. #165
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    First time any Chinese official has mentioned a time when China will do a manned moon landing. The time given "by 2036". It could still mean in the early 2020s as many have speculated. It will very much depend of the success of the planed missions they have already committed to 2020.

    More details from Andrew Jones.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/20...t_24950217.htm

    China plans to send astronauts to the moon before 2036, a senior People's Liberation Army officer said in the country's first confirmation of a manned lunar exploration program.

    Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin, deputy commander of the China Manned Space Program and deputy head of the Central Military Commission's Equipment Development Department, said it will require 15 to 20 years to land astronauts on the lunar surface using technologies and know-how acquired through the nation's space projects.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2016-Apr-30 at 10:32 AM.

  16. #166
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    It is such a slow progression ! Do the chinese really want to do manned lunar exploration ?

    With chemical or nuclear rockets , recoverable or not , there is no financial incentive to go to the moon.There is no profit possible.
    To do scientific reasearch ,maybe , but there are risks of human loss and this equates to a defeat for a governement.

    So I understand why people are so slow to go back to the moon.Mars is better it is so far in the future !

  17. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by galacsi View Post
    It is such a slow progression ! Do the chinese really want to do manned lunar exploration ?

    With chemical or nuclear rockets , recoverable or not , there is no financial incentive to go to the moon.There is no profit possible.
    To do scientific reasearch ,maybe , but there are risks of human loss and this equates to a defeat for a governement.

    So I understand why people are so slow to go back to the moon.Mars is better it is so far in the future !
    China does want to go to the moon and I think it will be long before 2036. In 2036 we will be looking at a base there.

  18. #168
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    Here is another article, this time from popsic.com and it does have the option that will allow them to go to the moon before LM 9 is human rated.

    http://www.popsci.com/china-aims-for...oon-in-2030s-0

    There are several key steps if China is going to make this happen. The official state newspaper, China Daily, noted that China would need a super heavy launch rocket capable of boosting at least 100 tons of payload into low Earth orbit. In addition to China National Space Agency (CNSA) concepts exploring using three heavy Long March 5 rockets to launch pieces of a manned lunar mission for terrestrial orbital assembly, China is beginning development of the super heavy Long March 9 (LM-9) rocket. With a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) payload of 140 tons (50 tons for a trans-lunar injection trajectory), the LM-9 is in the same weight class as the American Saturn V and Space Launch System. It's envisioned to have three stages, with the first stage consisting of four booster rockets, a quadruple double engine core stage (each individual engine would have a thrust of 480 tons), all liquid-fueled.

  19. #169
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    This is the first time I have come across an article which mentions how much moon rock Cheng'e 5 is expected to bring back to earth.

    http://blog.physicsworld.com/2016/06...s-lunar-plans/

    Next up, Ouyang explained, is Chang’e 5, which will be China’s first lunar sample-return mission. Due to take off next year, Chang’e 5 will drill a hole two metres deep in the lunar surface, scoop out at least a kilogram of Moon rocks and load them onto a capsule that will be fired back to Earth. The Russians and Americans have returned Moon rocks to Earth before, but this will be the first time Chinese scientists have pulled off that feat.

    Carrying such a heavy payload back home will require clever ways of cooling and decelerating the craft as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, but fortunately Chinese researchers last year launched a simulator to practise the maneouvre.

  20. #170
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    An interview with China's chief designer for the China National Space Administration's (CNSA’s) Chang'e lunar exploration program. It is about the coming moon missions.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/...-far-side-moon

    As chief designer for the China National Space Administration's (CNSA’s) Chang'e lunar exploration program, Wu Weiren oversaw the Chang’e-3 mission that in late 2013 landed and released a rover on the moon's surface—the first soft touchdown on Earth’s satellite since a Soviet mission in 1976.

    Two even more ambitious missions are on the way as China continues its rapid ascent in space science. Next year, Chang'e-5 will land, scrape up surface soil and rocks, drill down 2 meters for samples, and return the haul to Earth, all within 2 weeks or so. In 2018, CNSA, which runs the lunar program, will attempt the first ever landing on the far side of the moon. Remote observations of the far side’s geology have convinced some planetary scientists that it is the most accessible location in the solar system to study planetary accretion, crust formation, and the effects of impacts. An engineer, Wu concedes that engineering has priority in China’s lunar program: Without solid engineering, he says, scientific objectives cannot be realized.

    The interview, conducted at CNSA headquarters in Beijing, was edited for brevity and clarity.

  21. #171
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    China to step up its Luna exploration as that has been identified as one of the areas for greater emphasis on R&D.

    http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/9...e-r-d-2020.htm

    By 2020, China aims to increase expenditure on scientific research and experiments to 2.5 percent of its GDP and expects its comprehensive innovation capabilities to be ranked among the world's top 15. This compares to the 2.1 percent of total national expenditures amounting to over S211 billion in 2015. The plan also aims to make China an innovation powerhouse by 2020.

    On the other hand, the Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014 projects China will outspend the United States in science research and development by 2020. The outlook was published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization with 35 member countries to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

    It said China will place great emphasis on telecommunications; quantum computing; nuclear power; deep-sea exploration; computer circuitry; brain science and lunar exploration. Beijing also plans to increase efficiency, foster creativity and direct resources to strategic areas.

  22. #172
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    Chief engineer of China's manned space program Zhou Jianping said on Thursday that China has acquired the basic technology to carry out manned lunar missions.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/20..._135689902.htm

    Compared with current missions, the technology used for manned lunar missions are more complex, Zhou said.

    In order to achieve the goal of carrying out manned lunar missions, China needs rockets with greater load capacity, manned aircraft that can land on the lunar surface and return, and aircraft that can shuttle between Earth and the moon, Zhou said.

    In addition, Zhou disclosed that the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in southern China's Hainan Province is likely to be the second launch site for China's manned space program.

  23. #173
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    The article starts with what China might do with it's backup for the sample return mission, Chang'e 5. It goes on and describes Chang'e 4 and Chang'e 5.

    It also describes a specialized signals relay satellite to be positioned at the Earth-moon L2 Lagrange point. This is essential for missions to the far side of the moon like Cheng'e 4. It will also make that facility available to other users who are planning robotic and human expeditions to the moon or nearby.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/09/29...e-of-the-moon/

    If China’s lunar exploration program goes according to plan, scientists could send a robotic lander to pick up samples from the far side of the moon and return them to Earth by the early 2020s, a top Chinese space official said.

    China is developing a pair of identical sample return craft to fly to the moon to bring back the first lunar samples since 1976.

    The first of the sampling probes, Chang’e 5, will launch by the end of next year and attempt a landing at an unspecified location on the near side of the moon. Chinese engineers are simultaneously building parts for a backup mission named Chang’e 6, according to Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration.

    If next year’s mission successfully brings lunar soil samples back to Earth, the Chang’e 6 mission could be directed to a destination on the far side of the moon, Wu said this week at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    “Based on the success of the Chang’e 5 sample return mission, the Chang’e 6, which is a redundancy, we’ll decide on its next step, whether it’s to be on the near or the far side of the moon for a sample return mission,” Wu said Monday.

  24. #174
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    As part of the it's moon exploration plans, China is targeting both the poles.

    http://gbtimes.com/china/china-aims-...ar-exploration

    The body overseeing China’s space programme has announced it is developing a comprehensive 20 year strategy for lunar and interplanetary exploration, including sending probes to the Moon’s poles, potential human landings, and missions to Mars and beyond.

    China is already finalising missions that will collect and return lunar samples to Earth in late 2017, Chang'e-5, and the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon, involving a relay satellite, lander and rover, a year later.

    Under the new plans, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP) will now be expanded to include missions to both of the Moons poles.

    "The exploration of lunar poles is a significant innovation in human history, which has drawn great attention from around the world. It will also lay a solid foundation for deeper and more accurate Moon probes in the future," Tian Yulong, chief engineer at the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), told CCTV.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2016-Oct-24 at 02:47 PM.

  25. #175
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    China's scientist are confident that their plans for the moon are proceeding as planned. Chang'e-5 (the sample return mission), will be the last phase of China's 3 step process to explore the moon. The next phase of the moon exploration will begin with Chang'e 4 in 2018. They have hinted that their next phase of moon exploration will be detailed in a paper to be published at the end of this year.

    There is still one critical test to be done before any of their future moon plans can take off, This is a successful launch of their maiden flight of the Long March 5. If the grapevine is correct than that will be on 3rd of next month.

    http://gbtimes.com/china/chinas-chan...se-2017-launch

    Preparations for China's 2017 lunar sample return mission, Chang'e-5, are proceeding as planned, according to the chief scientist of China's Lunar Exploration Project (CLEP).

    Ouyang Ziyuan, a cosmochemist, told reporters in Tianjin on Sunday that the mission would mark the final phase of China's plans to robotically orbit, land on and return samples from the Moon.

    Mr Ouyang said analysis of the structure and component of the samples to be collected by Chang'e-5 would help scientists deepen the study into the formation and the evolution of the moon.

    "We are ready. Every lab is ready," he said. "Once the samples are back, we can begin our analysis right away."

  26. #176
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    According to this article, China now has the technology to do a manned moon mission.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/...s-on-the-moon/

    At present only two nations can put humans safely into space: Russia and China. Additionally, only two nations can put medium-sized payloads into space, the United States and China. Only one nation can do both. Payload and crewed launch capabilities will allow China to build a modular space station during the next decade that will invite visitors from Europe and elsewhere and will almost certainly outlast NASA's International Space Station.

    While China has focused on a space station and has not yet set a definitive timeline for going into deep space, it must be noted that the country now has the capacity to mount a human mission to the Moon, if it so chooses. The Long March-5 rocket is powerful enough to stage an Earth orbit for landings on the Moon and to push a payload of about eight metric tons into a Lunar transfer orbit (LTO).

    "By launching and rendezvousing four of those in low Earth orbit, it would be possible for the Chinese to construct a manned lunar mission with no more than that rocket and no more than Apollo technology," former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin told the House Science, Space, and Technology committee in September, 2011. "And I've—I have in fact, in the past, written up how that mission would work from an engineering perspective. So with the Long March-5, the Chinese inherently possessed the capability to return to the Moon should they wish to do so."

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  27. #177
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    Some anti-SLS snark in the article--as if the folks who build it aren't also in the private sector.

    Long March 5 is Proton class--and Proton thumped a rump Soyuz only on a circumlunar mission--the Zonds--OR carried one way Lunokhods.

    CZ-9 will be their moon-ship launcher

  28. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Some anti-SLS snark in the article--as if the folks who build it aren't also in the private sector.

    Long March 5 is Proton class--and Proton thumped a rump Soyuz only on a circumlunar mission--the Zonds--OR carried one way Lunokhods.

    CZ-9 will be their moon-ship launcher
    LM-9 for a single shot to the moon like the USA did with the moon landings.

    LM-5 will need 4 launches and of course there will be some assembling reguired. Will not be surprised if they use the CSS to help with the assembly.

    LM-9 will come into play when they start building the moon Base.

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  29. #179
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    Chang'e-3 is still working after 3 years (at least one of its instruments is working) .

    http://gbtimes.com/china/3-years-aft...-3-still-alive

    China's Chang'e-3 lunar lander reawakened on December 9, just days before marking its third anniversary of touching down on the Moon.

    The lander, which set down on the Moon and deployed the Yutu lander on December 14, 2013, is now into its 38th lunar day operations after 'hibernating' during the latest lunar night.

    The mission made China only the third country to soft-land on the Moon, following the United States and Soviet Union. It has also laid the groundwork for more ambitious projects.

    Chang'e-3 has demonstrated the techniques and capabilities for soft-landing and long-term operation on the Moon, extreme environmental adaptability with lunar nights and days seeing temperatures ranging from -180 to +100 degrees Celsius).
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2016-Dec-18 at 02:18 PM.

  30. #180
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    Now China has confirmed that they will also send missions to both the poles of the moon.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/20..._135936458.htm

    China is planning missions to explore the far side of the Moon and to send robots to explore both lunar poles.

    Plans to send astronauts to the Moon are also being discussed, according to Wu Yanhua, vice director of the China National Space Administration.

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