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China unveils follow-up lunar exploration missions

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China will launch the Chang’e-5 probe by the end of this year to bring moon samples back to earth, a senior official of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said on Monday.

The Chang’e-4 mission realised the first-ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon and its success has inaugurated the fourth phase of China’s lunar exploration programme.

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“Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it’s confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang’e-5,’’ said Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the CNSA, at a news conference of the State Council Information Office.

According to Wu, the Chang’e-6 mission will be designed to bring samples back from the South Pole of the moon.

The Chang’e-7 mission will carry out comprehensive surveys around the South Pole, including studying terrain and landform, physical composition as well as the space environment in the region.

The Chang’e-8 mission, in addition to scientific surveys and experiments, will test key technologies to lay the groundwork for the construction of a science and research base on the moon. (Xinhua/NAN)

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