maandag 26 november 2007

China's space exploration: third milestone

China publishes its first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1, the country's first lunar probe, on Monday, marking the full success of its lunar probe project.

BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asserted in a passionate and inspiring speech on Monday that China has joined the select group of world powers with the capabilities to engage in deep-space exploration.
After unveiling the first picture of the moon surface taken by Chang'e-1, China's first lunar probe, Wen said that the dream of the Chinese people for more than 1,000 years of flying to the Moon had begun to materialize.
Wen said that lunar probe was the third milestone in China's space exploration following the successes of man-made satellites and manned space flights.
The success, he said, not only manifested China's rising national strength and technical innovation capability, but also elevated the country's international status and cemented national cohesion.
"It showcases eloquently that the Chinese people have the will, the ambition and the capability to compose more shining new chapters while ascending the science and technology summit," he said.
Citing a letter from an overseas Chinese, Wen said that the farther the China-made satellite flew, the higher would the overseas Chinese hold their heads.
Chang'e-1, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who according to legend flew to the moon, blasted off on a Long March 3A carrier rocket on Oct. 24 shortly after Japan launched its first lunar probe, Kaguya, in mid-September.
The first high-definition image of the Earth rising was taken by Kaguya on Oct. 14. With India and the Republic of Korea planning to send their own lunar probes into space, concerns of a space race in Asia have arisen.
Looking to the future of China's three-step moon exploration which will lead to a moon landing and the launch of a moon rover around 2012 and the taking-back of lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research around 2017, Wen said that the initial success had "blazed a new trail and accumulated valuable experience" for China to improve its overall capability in science and technology.

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