China eyes moon for minerals
China's moon rover will survey for minerals on a dusty, barren crater named the Bay of Rainbows, but experts say there may be no pot of gold on the Earth's natural satellite.
The potential to extract the moon's resources has been touted as a key reason behind China's space programme, which made its latest breakthrough on Saturday with the landing of its first lunar rover.
State media said early yesterday that the rover vehicle had been deployed on the moon's surface. It is the first such mission for 40 years, after the United States and former Soviet Union did so, and the first soft landing on the lunar surface of any kind since 1976.
China's space exploits are covered widely by the country's media, and have become a huge source of pride for ordinary Chinese.
Luan Enjie, a senior adviser to China's lunar programme, told state media that the ultimate aim was to use the moon as a "springboard" for deep space exploration.
The Earth's natural satellite is also believed to hold uranium, titanium, and other mineral resources, as well as offering the possibility of solar power generation.