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Chang'e-2's condition will decide its fate after lunar mission completion: Official

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Crashing the spacecraft on the Moon is one of the options to end the Chang’e-2 mission. A file photo

BEIJING (BNS): China is considering three different options to end its second unmanned lunar probe, Chang'e-2, after it completes its mission six months later.

The spacecraft, launched on October 1 to undertake key technological tests on the surface of Moon for the soft-landing of its successor Chang'e-3, will either return to Earth, or crash on the Moon, or fly off in the outer space.

The “fate” of Chang'e-2 will depend on its actual condition and the needs of the overall Moon probe project, chief designer of the probe, Huang Jiangchuan, was quoted as saying by the official Xinuha news agency on Tuesday.

China had, on November 8, officially announced the mission a success by unveiling high resolution images of the Moon’s ‘Sinus Iridum’ or Bay of Rainbows region taken by the spacecraft. The ‘Sinus Iridum’ is one of the proposed landing sites of China’s next lunar rover Chang'e-3 scheduled to be launched in 2013.

Jiangchuan said the Chang’e-2 probe had accomplished its various tasks and was presently in a healthy condition.

He also said that the development of Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-4, which he termed a “whole new kind of spacecraft”, was making good progress.

China had launched its first lunar mission, Chang’e-1, on October 24, 2007. The spacecraft, after successfully completing a series of missions, crashed on the Moon in 2009.

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