Tags: china | moon | probe

China Moon Probe Landing Planned Within the Next Year, Nation's First

Image: China Moon Probe Landing Planned Within the Next Year, Nation's First Space exhibit in Beijing's Science and Technology Museum.

Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 06:09 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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China plans to put a probe on the moon this year in what would be the first time its space program has landed a rover there.

The country’s new agency said the Chang’e-3 Lunar probe, a six-wheeled rover, will work on the moon’s surface for about three months, Forbes reported.

The launching rocket has already been tested.

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“The Chang’e-3 mission will be our country’s first soft landing on an extraterrestrial body,” said Ma Singrui, head of China’s lunar exploration efforts, according to The New York Times. “The technology is complicated and extremely difficult, with huge risks and great responsibilities.”

Previously, China has launched craft that orbited the moon. Engineers in the space program have talked in the past about completing a manned mission someday. China has labeled setting up a space presence as important to its global power, the NYT said.

Already this year, three astronauts orbited for 15 days, working on docking and other skills needed to set up a space station, the newspaper said.

China has lagged behind the U.S. with its space program. In 2012, Fox News reported that China was aiming to land a rover on the moon in 2013, and highlighted the fact that the country was just achieving things — like surveying the moon’s surface — that the U.S. did 45 years ago.

China is competing with private companies to land people on the moon, and other countries are in the running too — India is planning to orbit Mars this year, Forbes said.

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