China publishes first picture from lunar probe project

By Xinhua

Beijing : China published the first picture of the moon captured by Chang’e-1 Monday morning, marking the success of the country’s first lunar probe project.

Support TwoCircles

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao unveiled the framed black-and-white photo at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC). The image showed a rough moon surface with scattered round craters both big and small.

The area covered by the picture, about 460 km in length and 280 km in width, is located within a 54 to 70 degrees south latitude and 57 to 83 degrees east longitude, according to BACC sources.

The area pictured is part of the moon’s highland and is mainly composed of plagioclase, a common rock-forming element. On the surface are craters of different sizes, shapes, structures and ages, the sources said.

“The dark patch in the picture’s upper right side shows the surface blanketed by basalt, a hard and dense volcanic rock,” the sources said.

The picture was pieced together by 19 images, each covering a width of 60 km on the moon’s surface. The far right of the picture was the first area to be captured by the CCD camera aboard Chang’e-1.

All the image data was collected on Nov 20 and Nov 21 and processed into a three-dimensional picture in several days after being transmitted back to Earth.

“Chinese people’s dream of flying to the moon for more than 1,000 years has started to materialize,” said Wen in a passionate speech. He hailed China as one of the few world powers capable of conducting a deep-space probe.

The premier said that the lunar probe was the third milestone in China’s space exploration, following the success of man-made satellites and manned space flights.

The success, he said, not only manifested China’s rising national strength and technical innovation capability, but also elevated the country’s international status and cemented national cohesion.

“It showcases eloquently that the Chinese people have the will, the ambition and the capability to compose more shining new chapters while ascending the science and technology summit,” he said.