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Chinese Academy of Sciences
Releases First Data Obtained by
The Yutu Lunar Rover

Jan. 7, 2014 (EIRNS)—The Chinese Academy's Institute of High Energy Physics has released to the world scientific community the first scientific data obtained by the Yutu lunar rover. On January 3, the Institute posted on its website an initial analysis of data from the rover's X-ray spectrometer, which can identify the chemical elements in the lunar soil. The data indicate the presence of eight of the expected major rock-forming elements, and at least three minor elements. While these first results are not extraordinary, they demonstrate that the instrument is working as designed. In addition, the release of the data and analysis to the public is an important policy decision, to engage the global scientific community with the mission.

The Active Particle-induced X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was first powered up on Dec. 23 and two days later was deployed to a position slightly above the lunar surface by the robotic arm, in order to go into its detection mode. Chinese scientists are very pleased with the instrument's performance, and the Institute says this is one of the best X-ray spectrometers deployed on a planetary mission. The earlier Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 spacecraft also had APXS instruments, which were used from orbit.