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China working on nuclear-powered Moon rover

Posted on Tuesday, April 03 2007 @ 12:15:58 CEST by

Chinese scientists in Shanghai are developing a nuclear-powered rover for the country's first (unmanned) mission to the Moon in 2012.

The six-wheeled vehicle has been under development for 4 years at the Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute:
The 5-foot-high, 440-pound rover is designed to transmit video in real time, dig for and analyze soil samples, and produce three dimensional images of the lunar surface, the paper said.

In photographs, the rover appeared similar to NASA's unmanned Spirit and Opportunity Mars explorers that were launched in 2003 and are still operating.

However, unlike the rechargeable lithium ion batteries used by those rovers, the Chinese model will eventually run on a nuclear power source to ensure a constant energy supply, the report said.

With an average speed of 328 feet per hour, it can negotiate inclines and has automatic sensors to prevent it from crashing into other objects, the report said.
In 2008 China will launch another manned space mission, this will be the country's third endeavour in space and they plan to celebrate this by doing the first Chinese spacewalk.



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