Beijing: Chinese scientists are drawing a 1:2.5 million scale geological map of the Moon as China plans to become the first country in the world to explore dark side of the lunar surface to showcase its space prowess, reports PTI.
Ouyang Ziyuan, first chief scientist of China’s lunar exploration programme, said five universities and research institutes have set standards for digital mapping and drawing of the Moon‘s geological structure. A sketch version of the map, 4.36 meters by 2.2 meters, will be finished by 2018, and released by 2020.
The map will provide information on geology, structure and rock types and will reflect the timeline of the Moon‘s evolution, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Chen Shengbo, a geologist with Jilin University in Northeast China’s Jilin province, and his team are responsible for drawing the lunar structure outline, just one part of the work.
He said the map would clearly show lunar geography such as geographic fractures, the size, appearance and the structure of craters. Chen said mapping depends on data and images sent by circumlunar satellites from home and abroad.
Lunar map making is not like drawing a map of the Earth, where scientists can go to the scene in person if they are not sure of their information. China’s satellites have captured global images of the
Moon, which contribute to the precision of lunar maps. An official paper recently said China will launch a lunar probe in 2018 to achieve world’s first soft landing on the far side of the moon.
China also aims to reach Mars by 2020, to catch up in the spare race with India, the US, Russia and the EU which so far have succeeded in the most difficult of all space journeys by successfully sending probes to the red planet.