BEIJING, November 26. /ITAR-TASS/. China will launch the Chang’e-3 moon rover on the Chang Zheng-3B modified carrier rocket in early December, Wu Zhijian, a spokesman for the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday.
The launch of the Chang’e-3 rover will mark the second stage of China’s lunar exploration program, which includes the rover’s placement into the moon orbit, landing on the moon and return.
According to the spokesman, the rover has been transferred to southwest China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Wu says the probe will practice soft-landing on the moon, explore the moon’s surface, and create a space engineering system for lunar patrolling. The rover will also send back 3D images, infrared spectrum and lunar soil analysis.
The Chang’e-3 moon probe is part of the second stage of China’s three-stage lunar mission. It includes orbiting, landing, and analyzing lunar soil and stone samples. China launched Chang’e-1 in 2007 and Chang’e-2 in 2010, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The first probe collected a large body of data and a completed map of the moon. The second mission greatly enhanced the resolution of the previous map and generated a high-definition image of Sinus Iridium, a plain of basaltic lava.
In 2017, during the third phase of the lunar program, China will send to the moon another spacecraft for taking lunar rock samples.