嫦    娥    奔  月
cháng é bēn yuè
Chang-e Flying to the Moon

“Chang’e”, is one of the most talked about names among the Chinese, this is not only because it is the name of a beautiful angel in ancient Chinese legend, who is living in the moon, but more importantly, it has become a code name of the moon- probing project now under way in China.

In ancient times, in the sky there were ten suns whose intense light and heat made the earth insufferably hot like burning stove, scorched the plants, the grass and the woods, bringing infinite suffering to the people. A warrior YI shot down nine suns with his sharp narrows. Since then, there has been only one sun shining in the sky, making a temperate climate, exuberant vegetation and consequently general welfare. Xiwangmu (the lady queen mother) gave him two pills of elixir of life for his great contribution. His wife chang’e, a beautiful young lady, secretly swallowed the two pills. At once, she felt herself lightening, rising upwards into the sky, and finally reached the moon and from then on has become the unique and lonely goddess of the palace of the moon. Chinese Moon Festival also originated from this fairy tale.

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From the launch of the previous atom bomb and hydrogen bomb and artificial earth satellite to today’s manned aircraft project, China’s aerospace industry has scored remarkable achievements. On October 15, 2003, Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut, soared to the sky by the “Shenzhou V” manned spaceship, and successfully returned to earth the next morning after flying round the earth for 14 circles. This event greatly inspired Chinese people, Chinese scientists have scaled to new height in the world space field with their own wisdom and effort. In 2004, China sets to motion the “first phased project of the lunar probing plan”, i.e., the “Chang’e I” moon exploration project.

China’s first moon expedition will begin with the launch of a moon probe satellite. The moon probe satellite will map the usable resources on the moon surface, with a range of other missions, including collecting 3-D moon images, understanding the soil, usable elements and mineral resources on the moon surface, and gaining more knowledge of the moon space environment. The moon probe satellite is designed to have a weight of 2,350 kg, with effective payloads including optic sounding system, and probing instruments to detect γ and X rays and space environment.

The project, named Chang’e Project, is implemented in three phases: surrounding the moon, landing on the moon, and returning from the moon. All the probe activities are unmanned. The moon surrounding satellite named Chang’e I expects to be launched October 24, 2007.

The scientific and engineering objectives of chang’e 1 are as follows:

—-The scientific objectives:

1. to obtain three-dimensional images of the lunar surface;

2. to analyze the distribution of 14 useful elements and materials below the lunar surface;

3. to probe the features of lunar soil; and

4. to explore the space environment between the moon and the earth,and above the lunar surface.

—- The engineering objectives:

1. developing and launching the china’s first lunar probe;

2. mastering the basic technologies for exploration in lunar orbit;

3. conducting lunar scientific exploration;

4. forming an initial space engineering system for lunar exploration;

5. accumulating experience for later lunar exploration projects.

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