BEIJING: China will land its first probe on the moon at the end of this year, state media reported yesterday, the next step in an ambitious space programme which includes eventually building a space station. In 2007, China launched its first moon orbiter, the Chang’e One orbiter, which took images of the surface and analysed the distribution of elements. That launch marked the first step in China’s three-stage moon mission, to be followed by an unmanned moon mission and then the retrieval of lunar soil and stone samples around 2017. The official Xinhua news agency said that the Chang’e Three was on track for a landing towards the end of the year. “The mission will see a Chinese orbiter soft-land, or land on the moon after using a technique to slow its speed, on a celestial body for the first time,” Xinhua added. Chinese scientists have talked of the possibility of sending a man to the moon after 2020.
Fukushima leak hits INES Level 3
TOKYO: Japan’s nuclear regulator said yesterday it has officially raised the severity rating of the latest radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to Level 3 on an international scale for radiological releases. The upgrade by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority raises the rating of what was Japan’s first warning on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale since the three reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in March 2011. Those meltdowns were classified as Level 7, the highest INES rating.
Speedboat mishap kills two in Pattaya
BANGKOK: Two Chinese men died and three other tourists were injured yesterday when their speedboat struck an anchored vessel near the central Thai resort of Pattaya, police said. The engine of the speedboat carrying ten Chinese tourists hit the anchor rope of the other vessel, killing the two men at the scene, said Arun Prompan commander of tourist police for Chon Buri province.
Jet crash kills two Korean pilots
SEOUL: Two pilots were killed yesterday when a South Korean air force jet trainer crashed near the southwestern city of Gwangju. Investigations were underway to determine the cause of the crash of the T-50 aircraft. It was the second crash in less than a year involving a T-50, South Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft.