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Chang'e 1, China's Lunar Probe to Map the Moon

Chang'e 1, named after the Chinese moon goddess, was a lunar probe meant to perform the first step in China's Lunar Exploration Program which is planned to result in human missions to the Moon in the future. Chang'e 1 was launched in 2007, operated successfully, and intentionally impacted on the Moon at the end of its mission in 2009. Its successor, Chang'e 2, was launched in 2010.

The main mission of Chang'e 1 was to map the entire lunar surface topography in 3D, study the Moon's surface chemical composition in detail, cover lunar polar territory, and study the radiation environment. Chang'e 1 did not study lunar polar volatiles.

Chang'e 1 was the first scientific mission to the Moon by the China National Space Administration. The probe, as well as the Long March rocket which delivered it, were totally Chinese, and the mission also marked the first use of the Chinese Deep Space Network.

The Chang'e 1 mission was followed by the similar Chang'e 2 Moon probe which has taken a lower orbit with improved equipment, and Chang'e Lunar Lander and Rover scheduled for launch in 2013.

External links:

Chang'e 1 on wikipedia > Lunar Resources (Mining The Moon) > Probes, History and Future > Chang-e 1 (China)

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