China explores moon for science, technology advancement

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (PNA/Xinhua) — China expects to gain a scientific understanding of the moon and develop its space technologies through its lunar program, a spokesman said in Beijing on Monday.

China has carried out its lunar exploration program as current financial and technical conditions have allowed, said Wu Zhijian, spokesman with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, during a press conference.

China’s Chang’e-3 lunar probe succeeded in soft landing on the moon Saturday evening. The country’s first moon rover, which was on board the probe, separated from the lander early on Sunday. The two photographed each other on the moon’s surface Sunday night.

Under the program, China has made breakthroughs in key technologies, which have enabled the lunar probe to land on the moon and deploy a moon rover, Wu said.

“We have also laid a solid foundation for future exploration of deep space,” he said.

China’s lunar program has brought technological progress in the development of carrier rockets, deep space communication, remote control, artificial intelligence, robotics, new materials and new energy, he said.

In response to questions about working with other countries in this field, Wu said China is always positive about international cooperation in lunar exploration.

“We have had very good cooperation with other countries and international organizations in previous missions,” he said.

Data collected through the Chang’e-1 and Chang’e-2 probes are open to scientists across the world, according to Wu.

China shared information collected by Chang’e-1 with the European Space Agency (ESA), and an ESA aerospace control center and three of its telecommand telemetry control stations took part in the Chang’e-3 mission, he said.

“In the next stage of the lunar program, there will be more international cooperation,” he said.

“Despite current progress, China still lags behind space giants like the United States and Russia in many aspects,” he said. “We need to work harder and move faster.” (PNA/Xinhua)