Moon rover leaves traces on lunar soil

Published: Monday | December 16, 2013 Comments 0
In this image taken by the on-board camera of the lunar probe Chang'e-3 and made off the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, China's first moon rover, 'Jade Rabbit', touches the lunar surface yesterday. Jade Rabbit touched down on the moon and left deep traces on its loose soil, state media reported. - AP
In this image taken by the on-board camera of the lunar probe Chang'e-3 and made off the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, China's first moon rover, 'Jade Rabbit', touches the lunar surface yesterday. Jade Rabbit touched down on the moon and left deep traces on its loose soil, state media reported. - AP

BEIJING (AP):

China's first moon rover has touched the lunar surface and left deep traces on its loose soil, state media reported yesterday, several hours after the country successfully carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades.

The 140-kilogram (300-pound) 'Jade Rabbit' rover separated from the much larger landing vehicle early yesterday, around seven hours after the unmanned Chang'e 3 space probe touched down on a fairly flat, Earth-facing part of the moon.

State broadcaster China Central Television showed images taken from the lander's camera of the rover and its shadow moving down a sloping ladder and touching the surface, setting off applause in the Beijing control centre. It said the lander and rover, both bearing Chinese flags, would take photos of each other yesterday evening.

future plans

Later, the six-wheeled rover will survey the moon's geological structure and surface and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will carry out scientific explorations at the landing site for one year.

The mission marks the next stage in an ambitious space programme that aims to eventually put a Chinese astronaut on the moon. China's space programme is an enormous source of pride for the country, the third to carry out a lunar soft landing - which does not damage the craft and the equipment it carries - after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The last one was by the Soviet Union in 1976.

The mission blasted off from southwest China on December 2 on a Long March-3B carrier rocket. It is named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon and the "Yutu" rover, or "Jade Rabbit" in English, is the goddess' pet.


 

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