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China names Chang'e-4 probe's moon landing site 'Statio Tianhe'

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 16 February 2019, 01:57 PM
The landing site of China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe has been named
The landing site of China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe has been named "Statio Tianhe" (Photo: File)

The landing site of China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe has been named "Statio Tianhe". This was after the spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon last month. The name, along with others for three craters and a peak nearby, were agreed by the China National Space Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Astronomical Union. To better understand the lunar environment and prepare for a human return to the moon, the Chang'e-4 probe is setting the groundwork for a human return to the moon. This mission is seen significant as China pushes forward its space programme. China's ambitious space programme includes several manned missions, building a permanent space station and reaching to Mars.

The name "Tianhe" originates from the Chinese name for the Milky Way. The International Astronomical Union has also approved four other names for features near the landing site. The IAU is the officially recognized authority in astronomy for assigning designations to celestial bodies such as stars, planets and minor planets, including any surface features on them.

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China's Chang'e-4 probe, launched on December 8, landed on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on January 3. So far, a total of 12 lunar features have been named by China.

"Tianhe" is the Chinese word for Milky Way and "Statio" is Latin for base. Before "Statio Tianhe," only one place is listed on lunar maps as "Statio," namely "Statio Tranquilitatis" (Tranquillity Base), the site the Apollo 11 crew members of the United States landed and walked on in 1969, Xinhua reported.

In support of the lunar landing programme, China will launch a carrier rocket with a 100-ton-plus payload for the first time by about 2030, a report quoted a report of the symposium published on the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the central cabinet. China's first Mars probe is scheduled to be launched on a Long March 5 by 2020 from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, South China's Hainan Province. The probe will hopefully orbit, land and deploy a rover on the Red Planet.

First Published: Saturday, February 16, 2019 01:57 PM
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