Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It is a go for China's second moon mission Chang'e 2

Source of pics: Xinhua

           In all probability lunar exploration history is once again set to be made on October 1, if China's second unmanned mission to the moon, Chang'e 2 lift offs.

          This flight will be of interest to India, because if one goes by Spacedaily.com, a web, which deals with space news, the mission has an impactor like Chandrayaan-1. Spacedaily has infact gone to the extent of even saying that India achieved the feat of having an impactor prior to China.

          In the run up to the Chang'e 2 launch, it was mentioned that it was a precursor to Chang'e 3 which is expected to be a soft landing mission later. But there was no referance to the impactor. Whether Chinese space officials saw the success of Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe (MIP ) and then decided to include an impactor in Chang'e 2 is a matter of speculation.

          Assuming that it is equipped with an impactor--I am saying assumed because a story in the Chinese newspaper, ``People's Daily about the forthcoming launch makes no mention of such an impactor---its main role would be to evaluate soft landing techniques which incidentally was one of the main aims of Chandrayaan-1's MIP and study the surface environment of the moon. It may also explore craters.

          According to the People's Daily, the final preperations are in progress for the launch. The on line edition of the newspaper says that the Chang'e 2 spacecraft has already been transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre and the rocket will be the LM-3B rocket.

          With improved technologies, it will fly faster to the moon than Chang'e 1. While Chang'e 1 took a week to reach the moon. Chang'e 2 is expected to complete the journey in five days. That is not all. In order to obtain a better view of the moon, scientists have instaled CCD cameras with the resolving capability of 10 metres on the Chang'e 2 as against 120 metres in Chang'e 1.

          Details about the payloads are yet to be known.



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