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China invites public to name spacecraft


BEIJING (PTI): China has invited the public to name a spacecraft on board the country's lunar probe programme 'Chang'e-3', expected to be launched by the end of the year.

The public can submit proposals online starting on Wednesday, and the name will be unveiled in November after several selection rounds, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar probe programme as saying.

"The spacecraft, designed with a mass of 140 kg, will be fuelled by solar energy," Wu said, adding that some winners will be invited to watch the launch of Chang'e-3 in person.

The spacecraft will be able to endure vacuum conditions, intense radiation and extreme temperatures ranging from minus 180 degrees Celsius to 150 degrees Celsius on the surface of the moon, he said.

The spacecraft will be equipped with devices such as a panorama camera and radar measurement equipment, Wu said, adding that it will run automatically and carry out patrol and detection missions on the lunar surface.

The Chang'e-3 moon probe is expected to land and stay on the moon as part of the second stage of the country's lunar probe programme, marking the first time a Chinese spacecraft will land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body, the report said.

China launched Chang'e-1 in 2007 and Chang'e-2 in 2010.

The first probe retrieved a large amount of scientific data and a completed map of the moon, while the second created a full high-resolution map of the moon and a high-definition image of the Sinus Iridium, one of the moon's features.

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