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China's second lunar probe successfully completes 6 months

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Artist conception of Chang' e 2 probe in lunar orbit.

BEIJING (PTI): China's second lunar probe 'Chang'e-2' has successfully completed its six months in the orbit, the official media here said.

"Operations of China's second lunar orbiter Chang'e-2 remained normal after its launch 180 days ago," CCTV reported Friday.

The solar-powered probe was launched on October 1 last year to deepen China's knowledge of the moon and collect information for moon-landing by the country's future orbiters.

Chang'e-2, named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess, accomplished its mission to tested key soft-landing technologies for the Chang'e-3 and provided high-resolution photographs of the landing area.

Chang'e-3 is scheduled to be launched in 2013 to land on the lunar surface with rover explore moon. Chang'e-2 had entered its long-term lunar orbit on November 3, 2010 and captured a great amount of scientific data, Chinese officials said.

The orbiter has so far achieved all the pre-set goals, the administration said, adding it would carry out further research operations. It provided close up pictures of moon's Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, the planned landing site for Chang'e-3.

The photographs were unveiled Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last year.

Chinese scientists say they have to decide whether let it crash into the moon or fly it off into outer space.

Chang'e-2 was built as an alternative to Chang'e-1, which was launched in October 2007 on a 16-month lunar orbit mission.


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