September 29, 2009

China Creates 3D Moon Map

China on Monday reported the completion of its three-dimensional map of the moon's surface.

The move represents another step in China's eventual goal of putting a man on the surface of the moon.

In 2003, China became the first nation to send an astronaut into space. Since then, it has created the goal of launching an unmanned rover to the lunar surface by 2012 and a manned mission to the moon by 2020.

China said it used data from the Chang'e 1, the nation's first lunar probe, launched in October 2007.

Liu Xianlin, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping, told Xinhua news agency that the map would be used to analyze the features, laws and creation of the moon's surface in order to gain more knowledge about its evolution.

"It would also pave the way for setting scientific objectives in future lunar probe projects," said Liu.

"It is an important stage for the later lunar landing, a selection of the landing site, and to better understand the lunar structure," Chen Yongqi, a professor in the department of land surveying and geo-informatics at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, told AFP.

"Another objective is to understand the soil of the lunar surface and mineral distribution."


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