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Scientists in Shanghai are developing an atomic-powered lunar rover for China's first unmanned mission to the moon in 2012.
The as-yet unnamed six-wheeled lunar vehicle has been under development for four years at the Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute, where a specialized testing laboratory has been outfitted to replicate the lunar surface, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The 1.5-meter (5-foot) high, 200-kilogram (440-pound) rover is designed to transmit video in real time, dig for and analyze soil samples, and produce three dimensional images of the lunar surface, the paper said.
“We want to make it better than the early U.S. and Russian rovers,'' the institute's director, Luo Jian, was quoted as saying.
With an average speed of 100 meters (328 feet) per hour, it can negotiate inclines and has automatic sensors to prevent it from crashing into other objects, the report said.
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