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China Lands Rover on Moon for First Time - UPDATE

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 14-Dec-2013
Updated: 15-Dec-2013 06:36 PM

UPDATE:  A link to a YouTube video of the landing has been added.

China's Chang'e-3 spacecraft landed on the Moon at about 8:12 am Eastern Standard Time today, December 14, 2013.  The spacecraft consists of a stationary lander plus a 6-wheeled rover, called Yutu. both equipped with scientific instruments.

Launched on December 1 (Eastern Standard Time), Chang'e-3 landed in the Bay of Rainbows at Sinus Iridum and successfully deployed its solar panels.   It is the first spacecraft to make a survivable landing on the Moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.

The Chang'e-3 lander is expected to operate for one year; the Yutu rover for 3 months.  Chang'e is the name of China's mythological goddess of the Moon and Yutu is her pet rabbit who accompanies her on her travels.

This is China's third lunar probe.  Chang-e-1 orbited the Moon in 2007 and impacted the Moon at the end of its operational lifetime (a common practice for countries that send probes to the Moon).   Change-2 in 2010 orbited the Moon and then was redirected to encounter the asteroid Toutatis.  The probe continues to operate at a distance of about 60 million kilometers from Earth.

A video of the landing from cameras aboard the spacecraft has been posted on YouTube.


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