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UPDATED: November 9, 2010
China Announces Success of Chang'e 2 Lunar Probe Mission

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends an unveiling ceremony for pictures of the moon's Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, taken and sent back by the Chang'e 2, China's second lunar probe, in Beijing, on November 8 (XINHUA)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Monday unveiled an image of the moon's Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, photographed by Chang'e 2, marking the success of China's second lunar probe mission.

Premier Wen attended the unveiling ceremony at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) and was briefed on the country's lunar mission.

Before unveiling the picture, Wen visited representatives of scientists and personnel who participated in the lunar probe mission.

"The success of Chang'e 2 in accomplishing its mission marks another great achievement after the country successfully launched its first lunar probe," Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang read out a message of congratulations to scientists and participating crews at the ceremony.

Zhang delivered the message on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the State Council and the Central Military Commission.

"The Chinese people will unswervingly develop technologies for the exploration of deep space and the peaceful use of outer space," said the message.

The image was photographed by a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera on the Chang'e 2 lunar probe from a height of 18.7 km over the moon on October 28.

The frame of the picture covered an area of 8 km wide from east to west and 15.9 km long from south to north, with the center at 31.05 degrees west longitude and 43.07 degrees north latitude.

The area was proposed as the landing ground for China's future moon missions.

After it finishes its six-month mission, Chang'e 2 will fulfil one of its three designated "tasks" -- crashing into the moon, flying off into outer space or returning to the Earth.

Chang'e 2 was built as an alternative to Chang'e 1, which was launched in October 2007 on a 16-month lunar orbit mission.

The Chang'e probes are named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.

(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2010)

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