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China's moon probe lowers orbit for further exploration


China's first moon probe, Chang'e-1, has successfully lowered its orbit from 200 kilometers away from the moon's surface to 100-kilometers.

Scientists did this to conduct more specific observation, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on December 9.

The satellite will remain at the new height before scientists lower its orbit again to gather information for a future moon landing, said CNSA without giving further details.

Chang'e-1 was launched into space on Oct. 24 last year. This was the first step of China's three-stage moon mission. The probe sent the first full map of the moon's surface back to China in November 2008.

A moon landing and launch of a moon rover is planned for 2012.

During the third phase of the plan, scheduled for 2017, another rover will land on the moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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