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China Plans To Survey 'Every Inch' Of Moon

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 10, 2007
China plans to survey all of the moon's surface before eventually bringing bits of the planet back to Earth, state media reported Friday.

"We would like to survey every inch of the moon's surface," Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the China's moon exploration project, was quoted as saying on the website of Chinese News Service.

Ouyang, speaking at a conference in southwestern China this week, said China's lunar exploration programme was divided into three phases: orbiting the moon, landing on the lunar surface and coming back to Earth with samples.

China hopes to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon to survey the moon systematically and after that, will attempt to collect samples of the moon to bring back to Earth, he said.

China's space agency chief, Sun Laiyan, said earlier this year that the country aimed to launch its first lunar orbiter in the second half of 2007.

"The moon probe project is the third milestone in China's space technology after satellite and manned spacecraft projects, and a first step for us in exploring deep space," the China National Space Administration head said.

The orbiter represented the first phase, with a moon rover to be used in the second phase scheduled for around 2012, reports said.

The plan for the third phase was for another rover to land on the lunar surface and collect samples before returning to Earth.

China would continue to research manned space missions, including a space walk and experiments to link passing spacecraft, he said.

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NASA Selects Astrophysics Projects For New Science On The Moon
Washington (SPX) Aug 03, 2007
NASA has selected four proposals focusing on astrophysics priorities in lunar science to facilitate the nation's exploration program. The proposed studies are part of a NASA effort to develop new opportunities to conduct important science investigations during the planned renewal of human exploration of the moon. The newly-announced proposals for concept studies may lead to experiments placed on the moon that would allow for unprecedented tests of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, instruments to probe the early evolution of structure in the universe, and observation of X-rays produced by the charged particles the sun emits, known as the solar wind.

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