China publishes first moon picture from lunar probe project
China published the first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1
this morning, marking the success of the country's first lunar probe
The framed black-and-white photo was unveiled by Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center. The image showed a rough moon
surface with scattered round craters both big and small.
The area covered by
the picture, about 460 kilometers in length and 280 km in width, was located
within a 54 to 70 degrees south latitude and 57 to 83 degrees east longitude,
according to BACC sources.
The area pictured was part of the moon's highland
and was mainly composed of plagioclase, a common rock-forming element. On the
surface were craters of different sizes, shapes, structures and ages, the
"The dark patch in the picture's upper right side shows the
surface blanketed by basalt, a hard and dense volcanic rock," the sources
The picture was pieced together by 19 images, each covering a width of
60 kilometers on the moon's surface. The far right of the picture was the first
area to be captured by the CCD camera aboard Chang'e-1.
All the image data
was collected on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 and processed into a three-dimensional
picture in several days after being transmitted back to Earth.
people's dream of flying to the moon for more than 1,000 years has started to
materialize," said Wen in a passionate speech. He hailed China as one of the few
world powers capable of conducting a deep-space probe.
The premier said that
the lunar probe was the third milestone in China's space exploration, following
the success of man-made satellites and manned space flights.
The success, he
said, not only manifested China's rising national strength and technical
innovation capability, but also elevated the country's international status and
cemented national cohesion.
"It showcases eloquently that the Chinese people
have the will, the ambition and the capability to compose more shining new
chapters while ascending the science and technology summit," he said.
the celebration work staff at a hall in the BACC where the picture was unveiled,
played greetings and music decoded from the data transmitted back to Earth via
"I come with greetings from China," said a female voice that
was programmed into the Chang'e-1 probe to salute the moon.
broadcast included "The East is Red", which was also played in 1970 by the
country's first man-made satellite, "Ode to the Motherland," a tribute to the
country's power and prosperity, and some moon-themed songs, such as Chinese pop
diva Faye Wong's rendition of a famous Song Dynasty (960-1127)
Chang'e-1, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who, according to
legend, flew to the moon, blasted off a Long March 3A carrier rocket at 6:05
p.m. on Oct. 24 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern
The 2,350-kg satellite carries eight probing facilities,
including a stereo camera and interferometer, an imager and gamma/x-ray
spectrometer, a laser altimeter, a microwave detector, a high-energy solar
particle detector and a low-energy ion detector.
It aims to fulfil four
scientific objectives. They include a three-dimensional survey of the moon
surface, analysis on the abundance and distribution of elements on the lunar
surface, an investigation of the characteristics of lunar regolith and the
powdery soil layer on the surface, and an exploration of the circumstance
between the Earth and moon.
The satellite traveled nearly two million
kilometers in its 15-day flight to the moon and reached its final working orbit
with a fixed altitude of 200 kilometers on Nov. 7.
Chang'e-1 was designed to
stay on the orbit for one year, but scientists estimated that precise maneuvers
may have saved 200 kg of the fuel and prolonged its lifespan.
The BACC will
control the operation of the probe and all its facilities, in coordination with
the ground application system, in the following period.
"The satellite will
keep sending back various probing data, which we will share with scientists all
over the world according to the international conventions," said a BACC