Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 29, 2009
Just a few days after India’s space program hit the headlines with the news it helped discover water on the lunar surface, the Chinese space program reminds us that, ahem, there’s another Asian country that has been in the lead in exploring the Moon. According to the official Xinhua news agency, “Chinese experts Monday announced that the country’s space scientists have completed the world’s highest-resolution three-dimensional map of the moon.” Xinhua goes on to report that the 3D map is based on data provided by Chang’e-1, China’s first lunar probe vehicle.
Maybe there’s an innocent explanation for the timing of this Chinese breakthrough; perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the report of the lunar map comes a few days after the big news from India. On the other hand, with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC this week, the folks involved with China’s space program probably don’t want to be overshadowed by their rivals in India right now.