China to Take Next Leap in Moon Probe

Chang’e-2, China’s second lunar probe, will be sent up into space in less than a year. From China Daily:

China’s second lunar probe, Chang’e-2, will be launched in October 2010, a top space scientist said Thursday.

Ye Peijian, chief designer of the nation’s first moon probe, told the third International Conference on Space Information Technology in Beijing yesterday that the country’s lunar lander and rover, Chang’e-3, is also well on the way toward liftoff — the project is in the prototype stage and its launch is set for before 2013.

Ye said the second lunar orbiter will carry different payloads and orbit the moon in a different way.

“It will orbit 100 km closer to the moon and be equipped with better facilities. We expect to acquire more scientific data about the moon with increased accuracy,” he told China Daily.

Though Chang’e-2 was at one time the backup to Chang’e-1, it has gone through technical upgrades for its new mission. Payloads on board have been improved, and the vehicle now boasts a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera on board, which has a much higher resolution than the camera on China’s first lunar probe.

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