China’s first lunar probe, The Chang'e 1, yesterday crashed into the moon in what Beijing is calling a “controlled crash.”
China Daily reports that the satellite hit the moon's surface at 16:13 Beijing time and was under the remote control of two stations in Qingda, eastern China, and Kashgar in the northwest of the country. Named after a Chinese moon goddess, the Chang'e 1 took off on October 24, 2007 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center and spent 494 days in space. Sunday’s collision marks the end of a 16-month moon-mapping mission. The landing is part of China’s plan to land a vehicle on the moon to collect mineral samples in 2012.
The next stage of the three-stage moon mission would be the 2012 launch of the lunar rover; followed by the final 2017 stage whereby another lunar rover will land on the moon and return to Earth with soil and stone samples for scientific research.