A series of Moon probes launched by the China National Space Administration, named after a Chinese Moon goddess. Chang'e 1 was a lunar orbiter, launched 2007 October. It made a three-dimensional map of the surface with a stereo camera system, studying the surface composition with a gamma/X-ray spectrometer, mapping the thickness of the lunar regolith with a microwave radiometer, and collecting data on the solar wind. The mission ended in 2009 March when Chang'e 1 was commanded to hit the Moon. Chang'e 2 was launched in 2010 October carrying an improved camera with which it photographed the Moon from a 100-km polar orbit. One of its aims was to help with the selection of a launch site for Chang'e 3, a lunar rover planned for launch in 2013. Later members of the series may bring back lunar samples.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.