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22 December 2019


China's Jade Rabbit-2, or Yutu-2, has become the longest-working lunar rover on the moon, as it started to work for the 13th lunar day on the far side of the moon.

Previously the record was held by Lunokhod 1, the Soviet robotic rover that became the world's first to be sent to the moon in 1970, where it worked for about 10 months.

China's Chang'e-4 probe including a lander and Jade Rabbit-2, launched on Dec 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3, 2019.

Both the lander and rover have resumed work for the 13th lunar day after laying dormant during the extremely cold night, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

The lander woke up at 5:14 am Saturday (Beijing time), and the rover awoke at 6:43 pm Friday. Both are in normal working order.

The rover has driven more than 345 meters on the far side of the moon to conduct a scientific exploration of the virgin territory.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, a lunar night is the same length. The Chang'e-4 probe switches to dormant mode during the lunar night due to a lack of solar power.

The scientific tasks of the Chang'e-4 mission include conducting low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms.

The Chang'e-4 mission embodies China's hope to combine wisdom in space exploration with four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.



A total of 65 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their performance in time use over the past year, according to a recent survey by the China Youth Daily.

Among the 2,076 Chinese surveyed, respondents of the post-80s generation showed the greatest satisfaction with their time use and those born after 2000 expressed the least, the Beijing-based newspaper reported.

Reasons for poor time use listed by respondents included failure to stick to plans due to emergencies, unrealistic plans made, poor performance in executing plans and a lack of time management, the survey said.

To carry out plans as scheduled, more than 70 percent of respondents believed it was necessary to prioritize tasks, the survey showed.

Experts noted that time management ability affects people's future development. "Efficient people, who are good at prioritizing matters, will have their abilities better recognized and secure more opportunities for personal growth," Jiang Jianrong, an associate professor with Tianjin-based Nankai University, told the newspaper.

Among the respondents, 87.4 percent were office workers, 48.1 percent were people of the post-80s generation, and 2.3 percent were born after 2000.



China will start putting together its first manned space station around 2020. In the first step, a Long March 5B carrier rocket will put the station's core module into orbit that year. Next, other components and astronauts will be ferried to the core module to assemble the station.

The multimodule station, named Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, will be mainly composed of three components - a core module attached to two space labs - having a combined weight of more than 90 metric tons, according to the China Academy of Space Technology.

The space station is expected to be built and become fully operational around 2022 and is set to operate for about 15 years.

China plans to launch the Chang'e 5 lunar probe in 2020 to bring moon samples back to Earth. The Long March 5 carrier rocket, China's current largest launch vehicle, will be used to send the probe into space.

China's current lunar program includes three phases: orbiting, landing, and returning. The first two phases have been accomplished, and the next step is to launch the Chang'e 5 probe to collect 2 kg of moon samples and bring them back to the earth.

China has launched four lunar probes since 2007. In December 2013, the third probe became the first Chinese spacecraft to land on the lunar surface and release the first Chinese lunar rover.

The ongoing Chang'e 4 mission, launched in December, has given mankind its first close look at the moon's far side - a region that never faces Earth - accomplishing a goal sought by scientists for decades.

China will possibly launch all BeiDou 3 satellites to complete the global network of its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System into space by the end of June, about half a year ahead of schedule.

China started to build the BDS 3 system in 2009, and planned to complete construction by the end of 2020, with intensive launch missions.

China has deployed three systems, BDS 1, BDS 2 and BDS 3, to provide accurate positioning and navigation services to the world.

The BDS system, independently constructed and operated by China, currently has 38 in-orbit satellites including 18 BDS 2 and 20 BDS 3.

As a space infrastructure of national significance, the BDS provides all-time, all-weather and high-accuracy positioning, navigation and timing services to global users, according to a white paper on the system.

China has set goals to build a space-based, high-resolution Earth observation network by 2020, since it launched the Gaofen (high resolution) program, one of the 16 important national projects in science and technology, in May 2010.

So far, more than 10 Gaofen satellites have been launched, and all of them are in active service.

Gaofen 7 launched on Nov 3, 2019, for example, is China's first civil-use optical transmission three-dimensional surveying and mapping satellite that reaches the sub-meter level.

Images and data from the Gaofen satellites have been widely used in more than 20 industries across China and have helped reduce the country's dependence on foreign remote-sensing products. It has also helped serve countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

China's new medium-lift launch vehicle Long March 8 will make its maiden flight next year, and it has entered the final stage of assembly and testing.

Long March 8 has been designed for commercial use to compete in the world market for carrying a maximum payload of 4.5 tons to the Sun synchronous orbit. It will also meet clients' requirements on low cost and good performance.

It is estimated that after being put on the market, its annual output will meet the demand of at least 10 launches in the early stage, and more than 20 in the later stage.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced in 2018 that China will establish a constellation of more than 300 low-orbit satellites to provide global communication services.

It is planned a basic network consisting of 60 satellites will be built in 2020. A narrow band system will be built at around 2023 and in 2025 a broadband system will be completed.

Once completed, the satellite communication network will take the place of the ground-based network and allow a mobile phone to be connected everywhere on the planet, either in a remote desert or at sea, according to CASC.

Hongyan will put an end to users' difficulties in making a phone call or using the internet when they are in a desert or remote mountain areas. The constellation will also help the Beidou system enhance its signal and improve positioning accuracy.

After years of preparation and experiments, China is to start its exploration to the Mars by launching an unmanned probe to the planet next year.

The farthest distance between the Earth and Mars is about 400 million kilometers, so a probe will travel about seven months before reaching the Martian atmosphere. It is expected that the probe will land on the Martian surface in 2021.

The robotic probe will consist of three parts - the orbiter, lander and rover. The rover will have six wheels and four solar panels and will carry 13 scientific instruments. It will weigh more than 200 kilograms and operate about three months on the planet, according to Sun Zezhou, the spacecraft's chief designer at the China Academy of Space Technology.


Comments (0)

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