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Chinese rover to land on moon in 2012
(People's Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-08 11:36

The lunar vehicle China is expected to land on the surface of the moon in 2012. The "lunar rover" brought by the vehicle will start its journey for exploration.

When attending the "forum on China Important Engineering and Technology Achievements" Hu Hao, director of China's lunar exploration engineering center, disclosed that as the first part of China's lunar exploration program the Chang'e-I satellite is expected to be sent to orbit the moon in 2007 by Long March III A carrier rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The lunar orbiter was named "Chang'e-I" as part of China's lunar exploration program in reference to an ancient legend about a fairy Chang'e who flies to the moon.

Hu said from present to 2020 or a period later China's lunar exploration program will focus on unmanning probing. The program is divided into three stages. From present to 2007 the focus will be on orbiting the moon; from 2005 to 2012 an unmanned vehicle will land on the moon in the second stage for the exploration of moon surface; from 2010 to 2017, a vehicle will land on the moon and collect samples of lunar soil in the final stage.

It is disclosed the Chang'e-I satellite, which is expected to be launched in 2007, will complete four scientific assignments. The primary assignment is to make a "portrait" of the moon, that is to say in addition to obtaining a three-dimensional image of the lunar surface, Chang'e-I will also analyze the content and distribution of useful elements on the moon surface, measure the depth of lunar soil and explore space between the earth and the moon.

Following the Chang'e-I satellite orbiting the moon an unmanned vehicle is expected to land on the moon in the second stage in 2012 with "moon rover", perambulating the moon surface and exploring the resources on the moon.

When comparing with common robots the "moon rover" will be an analysis-type robot, or a robot scientist. It must fit in with the rugged environment on the moon and can stand various environment tests of solarization, freezing and radiation. At the same time, it has capacity for self-work. So there is a very strict demand for a moon rover.

As for the moon rovers developed and displayed by some colleges, universities and scientific research institutions Hu said basically they can not be applied to moon exploration or they are far away from true "moon rovers". Hu added they are making intensive demonstration of the true moon rovers. Only by knowing the environment of the moon can the "moon rover" that can be fit for the moon environment and work on the moon be developed.

When mankind explores the moon first comes the landing of an unmanned detector on the moon and the landing of manned vehicle on the moon will follow, which will be divided into two situations. First is after the manned vehicle with equipment lands on the moon it will be back quickly while the second is men or women will live and work there.

It is learned after completing the task of unmanned landing on the moon further research will be made on manned landing on the moon and opportunity will be sought after to apply manned landing on the moon and to set up a moon base with countries concerned.

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