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    Astronomers Claim to Have Found Crash Site of Chinese Satellite on Moon Using NASA Photo

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    China recently started to actively develop its lunar programme, launching its first lunar drone in January 2019, which studied the far side of the Moon and conducted several on-site experiments.

    Astronomers at Arizona State University have reported that they managed to identify the approximate spot on the moon's surface where the Chinese communications satellite Longjiang-2 crashed on 31 July. According to Mark Robinson, chief of the team working with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), the satellite landed in the Van Gent crater.

    In order to determine its location, his team compared two photos made by the LROC before the crash on 3 July and afterwards on 5 October. Analysis of the two shots revealed a change in the Moon's terrain, which is now marked by a new 4 by 5-metre mini-crater, which apparently appeared at the spot where the Chinese satellite had crashed.

    The Longjiang-2 was launched by China in May 2018 and was supposed to function in conjunction with the Longjiang-1satellite for about a year, but kept functioning for an additional two months before finally crashing from orbit around the Moon.  The two satellites were testing low-frequency radio astronomy observations technologies developed by China.

    In this photo provided Jan. 12, 2019, by the China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, the lunar lander of the Chang'e-4 probe is seen in a photo taken by the rover Yutu-2 on Jan. 11, 2019
    © AP Photo / China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency

    China started its lunar exploration programme back in 2003, but has recently made some major breakthroughs. Namely, Beijing launched the first drone to the far side of the Moon, which has remained relatively unexplored. The drone successfully landed in January 2019, conducted studies of the surface, and carried out some experiments.

    In addition to this, Beijing is considering to send its first manned mission to the Earth's natural satellite by 2030.


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