China's moon rover "Yutu" will soon travel to the moon and achieve the country's first soft landing. More information about China's moon probe was released at a press conference on Tuesday in Beijing.
China is to carry out yet the most difficult and challenging task so far of its space exploration, sending its first rover to the moon for a soft landing.
"Chang'e-1 and -2 only orbited around the moon. This time we will carry out the first soft landing on its surface, so it's very challenging. So far 129 moon explorations have been carried out by different countries and only 51 of them succeeded, so there are risks in our mission," said Li Benzheng, deputy chief commander of China Lunar Exploration Program.
In 2007 and 2010, Chang'e-1 and -2 successfully orbited around the moon and captured a complete map of the moon with high resolution. China is currently at the end of the second phase of its three step moon project, now to land a rover on the surface. The rover Yutu will patrol the moon for three months and explore its resources.
"This time we will send an optical telescope onto the moon to observe space. This so far hasn't been done by other countries. Space observation from the moon will largely improve observation capabilities," said Li.
The third phase of China's moon probe is set to start in 2018 and by 2020 it plans to have its moon rover return to earth with samples for analysis. For now though, Yutu will not be able to return after it completes its three month patrol.
China's ultimate goal is to send manned missions to the moon. In recent years space exploration has largely benefited China's medical and scientific development. More than 80 percent of some 1,000 new materials in recent years have been derived from space technology.