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China 3rd lunar probe to use 'secret weapons': Scientist

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BEIJING (BNS): China, which is preparing to launch its third unmanned lunar probe later this year, will use "secret weapons" onboard the spacecraft, a senior scientist associated with the mission has said.

Multiple "secret weapons" will be used on China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe, scheduled to launch at the end of this year for a Moon landing mission, Ouyang Ziyuan, a senior advisor to China's lunar programme, was quoted as saying by the official Xinuha news agency on Wednesday.

The mission aims at "soft-landing" an orbiter on the Moon's surface in a first such attempt by China.

In addition to several cameras, Chang'e-3 will carry a near-ultraviolet astronomical telescope to observe stars, the galaxy and the Universe from the Moon, Ziyuan said.

The lander will also carry an extreme ultraviolet camera which will be used on the Moon for the first time to monitor the transformation of Earth's plasmasphere and the planet's environmental change, the scientist said at the First Beijing International Forum on Lunar and Deep-space Exploration.

The Chang'e-3 rover, which will roam around the Moon to explore its surface, will have a radar attached to its bottom which will help it in exploring "100 to 200 meters beneath the Moon's surface, which is unprecedented," Ouyang said.

China has successfully launched two lunar missions -- Chang'e-1 orbiter in 2007 and the Chang'e-2 probe in 2010.

While the first probe retrieved a great deal of scientific data and a complete map of the Moon, the second mission created a full high-resolution map of the Earth's natural satellite and a high-definition image of 'Sinus Iridium' -- a lunar landmark and the proposed landing site for the Chang'e-3.

"The Chang'e-3 mission makes use of a plethora of innovative technologies. It is an extremely difficult mission that carries great risk," Ma Xingrui, head of China's space exploration body and chief commander of the lunar programme, had said last month.

Tags:

China  Lunar Probe  Moon  Space  Earth  Orbiter  
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