In more recent times, China has been pressing on with its lunar program. It began when geologist Ouyang Ziyuan suggested that some of the Moon’s elements could be exploited for use on Earth. Ouyang is today the program’s chief scientist, with men such as general designer Sun Jiadong and the program’s lead Luan Enjie working alongside him.
China’s Moon program had its first major success when it fired a spacecraft into orbit around the Moon in October 2007. That craft was sent up from a site near Xichang which has been functioning since 1984. This site is one of four centers for sending satellites into space from China.
That first mission had the name of Chang’e 1 and all subsequent stages of the lunar program have also been called Chang’e. This is the name of the Moon goddess in Chinese mythology. Chang’e, according to myth, is said to bring good looks to those who worship her, which some do specifically at the Mid-Autumn Festival.