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New lunar rover unveiled at Chongqing tech fair

[ 2014-04-14 15:15] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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China's space exploration agency unveiled a four-wheeled lunar rover on Thursday, sparking speculation about sending Chinese astronauts to the moon.

The vehicle was displayed at the 11th China Chongqing High-tech Fair that opened in the southwestern metropolis, and instantly attracted a frenzy of attention.

Being developed by the Ministry of Education's Center of Space Exploration, the vehicle can carry two people and a heavy payload. It will serve the nation's first astronauts who will set foot on the moon, according to Zhan Hanjing, deputy chief designer at the center.

"I don't know whether the task signifies that the government has decided to pursue missions to the moon," Zhan said. “But I can tell you that the task was given to us by the government, and all of its costs are covered by State funds.”

China has not yet created a manned lunar exploration project, Wu Weiren, chief designer for the nation's lunar probe program, said in earlier reports.

The new moon vehicle, though appearing rough and unsophisticated, boasts an outstanding ability to roam over bumpy terrain with its lightweight frame and supreme strength, Zhan said.

He said the center is also working on two other rovers, but didn't elaborate.

The first manned rover was used in the US Apollo 15 mission in 1971. Altogether, there have been three lunar vehicles driven by astronauts on the moon. All were from the United States.

"We studied the US manned rovers used in Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions and adopted their experience in our design," Zhan said.

China's first rover to touch the moon's surface is the 140-kilogram, six-wheeled Yutu, which was part of the Chang'e-3 mission last year. It began operating on Dec 15.

The Chinese buggy has outlived its design life of three months and is in its fourth period of dormancy.


1. What was unveiled at the Chongqing technology fair?

2. What can the vehicle carry?

3. The first manned lunar rover was used in what American mission to the moon?


1. A four-wheeled lunar rover.

2. Two people and a heavy payload.

3. Apollo 15.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

New lunar rover unveiled at Chongqing tech fair

About the broadcaster:

New lunar rover unveiled at Chongqing tech fair

Anne Ruisi is an editor at China Daily online with more than 30 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She has worked at newspapers in the U.S., including The Birmingham News in Alabama and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.