CHINA / National

China's first lunar probe to broadcast music
Updated: 2006-07-07 18:31

China will transmit 30 pieces of Chinese music to the Earth from its first lunar satellite set to be launched next year.

The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said on Friday that it is seeking recommendations from the public on which tunes to play in a bid to increase public awareness of China's space program.

The public will be able to choose from a list of 150 songs put forward by the commission's Lunar Probe Engineering Center, which includes music from the country's 56 ethnic groups, pop music from the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong and opera soundtracks.

The center said the public can vote on the websites of the TV Guide published by the country's biggest broadcaster, CCTV, and the center before August 9.

The final results will be made public in October, said the center.

Huang Qiang, spokesperson of the commission, said the satellite project was approved by the Chinese central authorities in 2004 as part of the three-stage Chang'e Program. The project has a budget of 1.4 billion yuan (170 million U.S. dollars).

The program, named "Chang'e" after the legendary Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, aims to eventually place an unmanned vehicle on the moon by 2010.

The lunar satellite is designed to obtain 3D images of the lunar surface, analyze the content of useful elements and materials, and probe the depth of the lunar soil and the space environment between the earth and the moon. It will orbit the moon for one year.

Unlike the single transmission of the popular hymn "The East is Red" broadcast in 1970 from the country's first man-made terrestrial satellite, the music from space next year will be very different.

The hymn "The East is Red" was selected in 1967 by satellite experts and space officials to pay tribute to Mao Zedong, founder of new China and the Communist Party of China. The tune was so popular that at that time even illiterate adults knew the words.

The successful launch of the country's first satellite in 1970 made China the fifth country in the world capable of developing and launching a satellite on its own. The other countries were the Soviet Union, the United States, France and Japan.