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Ten names shortlisted for China's 1st Moon rover

Artist rendering of Chang'e-3 lander and rover. Photo: China Academy of Space Technology.

BEIJING (PTI): China's first lunar rover, set to be launched in December, could be named 'Yutu,' after netizens suggested 10 possible names for the prestigious project.

"Yutu," or jade hare in Chinese, tops the list while "Tansuo," or explore, and "Lanyue," or catch moon, came at the second and third places, said 'Beijing Times', quoting a month-long online poll and debate by a jury.

Chinese at home and abroad were wooed to submit proposals for the name of the lunar rover at two designated websites from September 25 to October 25, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

About 190,000 proposals were received and a 14-member jury board selected the 10 most popular after heated debates and several rounds of vote on Saturday, the newspaper reported.

Yutu is a white pet rabbit accompanying the goddess Chang'e on the moon in a popular ancient Chinese myth.

In the next week, another online poll will elect the three most popular names and the final result will be announced in November.

The moon rover is scheduled to be on board of the Chang'e-3 moon probe, which will soft-land on the moon.

The rover has two wings, stands on six wheels, weighs 140 kg and will be powered by solar energy.

Zhao Xiaojin, director of the aerospace department of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, depicted the lunar rover an orbiter adaptable to harsh environments; a highly efficient and integrated robot; and a high altitude "patrolman" carrying the dreams of Asia.

"When it arrives in lunar orbit on board a lander, the rover will choose the best landing site and gently touch down the moon's surface, using optical and microwave sensors to avoid rocks and craters," Zhao said.

The Chang'e-3 moon probe is part of the second stage of China's three-stage lunar mission, orbiting, landing, and analysing lunar soil and stone samples.

The space mission is a source of huge national pride for the Communist nation, reflecting its ambition to be among the world's leading powers.


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