Beijing: China`s second moon orbiter
Chang`e-2 broke away from its moon orbit today and drifted
into outer space about 1.5 million km away from the earth,
after completing its tasks, Chinese scientists said.
The orbiter left its moon orbit at 5:10 pm, according
to the State Administration of Science, Technology and
Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).
The orbiter had finished all its tasks within its
designed life span of six months by April 1.
Scientists decided to let it carry out additional
exploratory works as the orbiter still had fuel in reserve.
Travelling into outer space from the moon`s orbit is
the most important task among five other additional ones,
according to the SASTIND.
Scientists hope the satellite can continue operations
until the end of next year, state-run Xinhua reported.
The solar-powered probe was launched on October 1 last
year to deepen China`s knowledge of the moon and collect
information for moon-landing for the country`s future
Chang`e-2, named after a legendary Chinese moon
goddess accomplished its mission to test key soft-landing
technologies for the Chang`e-3 and provided high-resolution
photographs of the landing area.
Chang`e-3 is scheduled to be launched in 2013 to land
on the lunar surface with rover explore moon.
Chang`e-2, that entered its long-term lunar orbit in
November last, captured a great amount of scientific data,
Chinese officials said.
It provided close up pictures of moon`s Sinus Iridum,
or Bay of Rainbows, the planned landing site for Chang`e-3.