Monday, December 02, 2013

China Launches Moon Mission

China launched a Long March 3B which carried aloft the Chang'e 3 moon lander, which is scheduled to land on the lunar surface  December 14th or 15th.  The Chang'e 3 will be the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the  Soviet Union's Luna 24's mission in 1976, more than 37 years.

The Chang'e 3 mission marks China's first-ever landing on the surface of an extraterrestrial  body.

This mission marks the second step of a three  steps mission plan.  The first was to orbit the moon, second, land on the moon and third, return moon rock samples to Earth by 2020.

The Chang'e is in fact a multi-part system consisting of the lander and rover much like NASA's earlier rover Pathfinder or Opportunity.  Chang'e will land on the moon using powered desent stage as did NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover.  Chang'e 3's rover is called Yutu or Jade Rabbit which was the pet of the Goddess Chang'e.  Much like Pathfinder, Yutu  got it's name by asking the public at large to suggest names for the rover and Yutu won out.

Yutu's three month mission traverse the luna surface.  While doing so, it will be utilizing radar modules attached to the bottom of Yutu which will study the s layers of the moon down to several hundred feet.  

For the complete article, to to HERE

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