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China launches lunar lander mission

Posted on Tuesday, 3 December, 2013 | Comment icon 9 comments

China has set its sights firmly on our lunar neighbor. Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Jason Bache
China has successfully launched its latest lunar spacecraft in a bid to place a rover on the moon.
Chang'e 3 is the third spacecraft that China has sent to the moon with its two predecessors being orbiters launched in 2007 and 2010. For their third mission the country's burgeoning space agency has opted to attempt a landing with a six-wheeled rover known as Yutu.

The journey to the moon is expected to take four days and the landing will be attempted on December 14th. Equipped with an array of instruments including ground-piercing radar, spectrometers and cameras, the rover will study the structure of the lunar crust and the composition of the rocks and soil.

"On behalf of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center and the command headquarters, I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who have been part of the project," said Xichang launch base director Zhang Zhenzhong.

China will be focusing primarily on robotic missions to the moon for the foreseeable future with plans to follow up with another mission to retrieve samples of rocks and soil and return them to the Earth in 2020.

Source: Spaceflight Now | Comments (9)

Tags: China, Yutu

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 December, 2013, 1:07
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket launched from the Xichang launch site in China carrying the countries first Rover destined for the Moon - Chang'e 3. Liftoff occurred December 1st 2013 at 17:30 UTC. Chang'e 3 contains a lander from which the Rover will deploy from after landing on the Moon surface on December 14th 2013. The Rover will be the first spacecraft in 37 years to make a soft landing on the Moon after Russia's Luna 24 mission in 1976. The Rover weighs 120kg and is 1.5 meters tall, it's onboard systems allow it to transmit live video and also dig - performing soil ana... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by coolguy on 2 December, 2013, 5:19
Very cool, congrats china I hope they find where we landed and take some pics. Can you imagine there was no flag or trace of the Apollo landing that would stir the pot lol
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 December, 2013, 6:44
That's not going to happen for two reasons. Firstly Chang'e 3 and Yutu will be landing in an area of the Sinus Iridum not explored by Apollo. Secondly the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has already imaged the Apollo hardware on the Moon.
Comment icon #4 Posted by coolguy on 2 December, 2013, 7:48
Ok thanks for the help waspie
Comment icon #5 Posted by Calibeliever on 5 December, 2013, 19:25
Let's get them to publish some pics from the backside of the moon and clear up this Clementine nonsense once and for all.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 December, 2013, 19:54
How is a rover which is landing on the near side supposed to take images of the far side? Edited to add: Besides if the images of the lunar far side take by NASA's LRO, ESA's Smart-1, Japan's Selene, China's Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 and India's Chandrayaan-1 aren't going to stop people believing nonsens why would this mission?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Calibeliever on 5 December, 2013, 21:48
Well fine, mess up a perfectly good plan with things like logistics and technical details.
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum on 8 December, 2013, 6:35
So wait, we have a powerful rover on the moon but nobody speaks about? I am curios how much it cost and how much megapixels its camera has . How it is dealing with space radiations.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 December, 2013, 6:42
You are basing that assement on what exactly? It's difficult to talk about it when the Chinese space programme is run by the military and tends to keep details of their missions secret. I doubt you are alone, however see the answer above. Exactly the same way that every other space probe in history has dealt with it. Machines don't get cancer.

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