The Chang'e-5 mission, set to collect samples from the near side of the moon, will be carried out at the end of the year, while another probe will be sent to Mars by 2020, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the space administration, told a briefing, according to an official online transcript.
The LROC is a system of three cameras mounted on LRO that capture high-resolution black and white images and moderate-resolution multispectral images of the lunar surface.
The Chang'e-4 lander - named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology - released a rover that will perform experiments in the Von Karman Crater, which is located in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Soon thereafter, a color image of the mission's immediate surroundings was relayed back to Earth.
A successful moon landing has revived China's interest in sending spacecraft to Mars, six years after its failed mission to the red planet. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it.
Sun Zezhou, the chief designer of the Chang'e-4 probe from CAST, said the probe will get first-hand data by directly measuring the temperatures of the lunar soil, probe's surface, and its key interior equipment during the lunar night.
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The rover's tracks can be clearly seen in the remarkable image.
Around the end of this year, China plans to launch Chang'e 5, which is to collect and bring back samples from the near side of the moon, the first time that has been done since 1976.
Wu Yanhua said Chinese space experts hope to give full play to the role of Chang'e-4, a backup of Chang'e-3. Panoramic View Of The Far Side Of The Moon A week and a day after, Chang'e-4 released a panoramic photo of the site, which was made with 80 images. This was apparently made by combining 4,700 pictures captured by the onboard camera.
Other countries are also interested in the red planet, with Nasa in the United States, the European Space Agency, Roscosmos of Russian Federation, and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency planning to explore Mars in the coming decade. And the floors of some polar craters are never exposed to sunlight and might hold frozen water, scientists say. "It would be operated automatically and visited by people for short periods", Wu envisioned.
According to Xinhua, a heavy-lift carrier rocket, with a takeoff weight of about 4,400 tons (4,000 metric tons) and a diameter of 33 feet (10 m), is a goal for 2030.