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China's 1st lunar probe to impact moon at proper time
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19:44, January 08, 2009

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Chang'e-1, China's first lunar probe, will impact the moon at a proper time, said an unidentified official with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense here Thursday.

But the official did not reveal any details about the impact timing.

According to the commission, China would launch its second lunar probe, Chang'e-2, in 2010 or 2011.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) said earlier December that Chang'e-1 had successfully lowered its orbit from 200 kilometers away from the moon's surface to 100-kilometers.

Scientists did this to conduct more specific observation, according to CNSA.

The lunar orbiter would remain at the new height before scientists lower its orbit again to gather information for the future impact.

Chang'e-1 was launched into space on Oct. 24 last year. This was the first step of China's three-stage moon mission. The probe sent the first full map of the moon's surface back to China in November 2008.

A moon landing and launch of a moon rover is planned for 2012.

During the third phase of the plan, scheduled for 2017, another rover will land on the moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research.

"Chang'e" is named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.

Source: Xinhua

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