Chang'e-3 Is In Excellent Shape, Starting Science Mission
December 23, 2013 • 11:35AM

In an interview today with CCTV, Engineer Yang Yuguang, from China Aerospace Industry Corp., reported that engineers expect the Chang'e-3 rover and lander to continue their mission longer than initially planned (3 months for the rover and one year for the lander) because they are both in excellent condition. The rover was checked out yesterday and today starts its exploration, he said, so the scientists should have data soon. So far, 10 pictures have been taken by thw two vehicles, he said, from 5 different spots. The first pictures are for engineering purposes, to check them out. Due to the lunar dust, special "barriers" were put on the cameras to shield them, which the engineers thought might interfere with taking pictures of bright objects. but the "barriers" were effective and show that the design was successful.

Asked if China should spend money on space exploration, Yang said that in the Apollo program, $1 spent returned $6 in rewards, and "the indirect rewards are the most obvious." He said more money should be spent on space. The next launch vehicle, the Long March V, he said, will be able to deliver 14 tons of payload to the Moon, and a probe 10 times the size of the current one, and could go to the moons of Jupiter or Saturn.