Beijing, March 2 (ANI): Reports indicate that China's lunar probe has ended its 16-month mission with a controlled crash onto the moon on March 1st.
Chang'e I hit the moon's surface on March 1st after completing its tasks, according to sources with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.
Chang'e I began to reduce its speed at 3:36 pm on Sunday with two observation and control stations in Qingdao and Kashgar controlling it remotely.
The mission was to gather experience for a moon landing and launch of a lunar rover, which is the next stage of China's three-stage moon mission - in 2012, sources with the administration said.
The third phase features another lunar rover, which will land on the moon and return to Earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research, in 2017.
It will be followed by a manned lunar landing, expected before 2020.
The country's first planetary probe, Chang'e I completed its tasks in October after a year in space.
Chang'e I, which spent 494 days in space, was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center atop a Long March 3-A carrier rocket on October 24, 2007.
The 2,350-kg satellite carried eight surveying facilities, with which it conducted a three-dimensional survey of the moon's surface.
China will launch its second lunar probe, Chang'e II, in 2010 or 2011. (ANI)