Lunar and Planetary Institute
Lunar and Planetary Institute



Chang’e-1 Completes Mapping of Moon

December 1, 2008
Source:  China National Space Administration

The image on the left shows a mercator projection of 94% of the Moon's area, that on the right shows the north and south poles.The head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), Sun Laiyan, announced last week that the Chang’e-1 mission had successfully completed its mapping of the whole Moon, and that all the data has now been processed. The scientific objectives of Chang’e-1 were to provide a three-dimensional survey of the Moon’s surface, analyzing the abundance and distribution of elements on the lunar surface, and investigating the characteristics of lunar regolith and the powdery soil layer on the surface. Declaring the mission a success, Sun displayed China’s first image of the whole Moon and indicated that data sharing would now begin.

Chang’e-1 has orbited the Moon 589 times, providing 1.37 terabytes of effective scientific data gathered from November 20, 2007, to July 1, 2008.

Primary scientists of the mission were Chang’e commander-in-chief Luan Enjie; chief project scientist Ouyang Ziyuan; deputy designer Jian Jingshan; and designer Long Lehao.

Research groups interested in applying for data access should contact the primary data constodians:  Chinese University of Hong Kong (Dr. Xu Yangsheng), Tsinghua University (Prof. Lu Jianhua), Harbin Institute of Technology (Tan Liying); and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (Dr. Xiao-tao Chang).

Chen Qiufa, a deputy Minister of MIIT and head of SASTIND, noted that the Chang’e-3 Lunar Rover would launch in late 2011 on a Long March 3B rocket (this will be the first use of a 3B rocket for spacecraft launch and orbit insertion). Chen confirmed that the Chang’e-3 rover will conduct studies of the Moon’s geology, topography, and mineral and chemical composition. The Chang’e-2 Duplicate sat will launch in 2010.

In a ceremony that included top members of MIIT, SASTIND, CAS, CNSA, CASC, the China National Museum, and others, officials released a wall-sized reproduction of an image that included a mercator projection of 94% of the Moon’s area and images of the north and south poles.

For more information, visit

China Daily:  China’s Moon Exploration Program


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Last updated November 26, 2008