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China unveils new lunar lander

CHINA'S top aerospace authorities have approved a preliminary design for the country's third lunar lander, paving way for its expected launch around 2013.

The design for Chang'e 3 incorporates a breakthrough for soft-landing, part of China's second step of its lunar exploration program that aims to bring back moon samples by about 2017, China News Service reported today.

The rocket is expected to land near the moon's equator and it will deploy a lunar rover that can cruise the moon's surface in 90 days, according to chief designer Ye Peijian.

The rover will fetch samples within five square kilometers near its landing spot and send data back to the earth, said Ye.

He added that functional prototypes have been tested in simulated lunar conditions and completed the mission successfully.


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