The “lunar vehicle” robot will start its exploration with China ‘s first moon landing probe as the second part of China’s three- phase moon exploration program, Hu Hao, director of the moon probe engineering center, said at a recent forum on major achievements of Chinese engineering projects in Shanghai.
According to Hu, the first step of China’s moon program is to launch a lunar exploring orbiter, “Chang-E-I,” by 2007. The name refers to an ancient legend about the fairy Chang-E who flies to the moon. The orbiter is scheduled to orbit the moon and obtain three- dimensional images of the lunar surface and study its composition.
In the second phase, China will launch a moon probe with a unmanned “lunar vehicle” to land on the moon to explore resources, said Hu.
The “lunar vehicle” will be an analytical robot—to some degree a robot scientist, said Hu. It will be designed for the atrocious environment on the moon and resistant to polarization, freezing and radiation, and it will have the ability to repair itself.
“We are studying the environment of the moon, which is vital for the design of the ‘lunar vehicle,’” said Hu, who believes the research is still far from complete.
The third phase will bring soil and rock samples back to earth in around 2020, according to Hu. Enditem.
Copyright 2004 Xinhua News Agency
Copyright © 2002 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.