China has held its first press conference on the Chang'e-3 moon rover mission, which will be called "Yutu". The State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) says the lunar rover, will be launched in early December.
Its spokesman Wu Zhijian says the rover has been transferred to southwest China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Wu says the the probe will practice soft-landing on the moon, explore the moon's surface, and create a space engineering system for lunar patrolling. The rover will also send back 3D images, infrared spectrums and lunar soil analysis.
The Chang'e-3 mission is the second phase of China's lunar program. It includes orbiting, landing, and returning to Earth.
China launched Chang'e-1 in 2007 and Chang'e-2 in 2010. The first probe collected a large body of data and a completed a map of the moon. The second mission greatly enhanced the resolution of the previous map and generated a high-definition image of Sinus Iridium, a plain of basaltic lava.
"The Chang'e-3 moon rover mission will face many technological difficulties. It also needs to take great risks to perform the task. Space exploration has always been a pursuit for humankind. And the Chinese Government has made developing the space industry a crucial part of national overall development strategy. China will stick to the peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space." Wu said.
(CNTV.cn November 26, 2013)