Share

China's Moon Rover Photographed on Moon

Leonard David
Published: December 15, 2013

BEIJING —  China hailed its lunar probe mission a success after the country's first moon rover and the landing vehicle that carried it there took photos of each other on the surface, state media reported.

The six-wheeled rover moved to a spot about 9 meters (10 yards) north of the landing vehicle on Sunday night China time and the pair took photos for about a minute, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The color images transmitted back to Earth showed the Chinese flag on the Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit" rover, named after a mythological creature.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang were at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center to hear lunar program chief commander Ma Xingrui declare the Chang'e 3 mission a success, Xinhua reported.

(MORE: Jupiter's Moon Spouts Water Into Space)

In a congratulatory message, the Communist Party's central committee, State Council or China's Cabinet, and the Central Military Commission hailed the mission as a "milestone" in the development of China's space programs, a "new glory" in Chinese explorations and the "outstanding contribution" of China in mankind's peaceful use of space, Xinhua said.

The Chang'e 3 landed on a relatively flat part of the moon known as Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on Saturday evening, marking the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades. China is the third country to do that after the former Soviet Union and United States.

The lander and rover have now embarked on separate scientific explorations. The 140-kilogram (300-pound) rover will survey the moon's geological structure and surface and look for natural resources for three months at a speed of 200 meters (200 yards) per hour. The landing vehicle will conduct scientific examinations for one year at the landing site.

Xinhua said the two will have more chances in the coming days to take photos of each other at different angles.

(MORE: Captain Kirk's View of Earth)

The Chang'e 3 mission is named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon and the Yutu rover, or "Jade Rabbit" in English, is the goddess' pet.

China's military-backed space program has made methodical progress in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in technology and experience.

MORE: China Launches First Unmanned Moon Probe

The Chang'e 3 lunar lander and moon rover is part of the second phase of China's three-step robotic lunar exploration program. (Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering)


Featured Blogs

25th Anniversary of Hurricane Hugo Hitting South Carolina

By Dr. Jeff Masters
September 21, 2014

On September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo underwent a period of rapid intensification that made it a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds at landfall at Sullivan's Island, South Carolina at 11:57 pm. It was the strongest hurricane on record to hit South Carolina, and the second strongest hurricane (since reliable records began in 1851) to hit the U.S. East Coast north of Florida.

Incredible Rainstorm in Southern France

By Christopher C. Burt
September 19, 2014

Torrential rainfall Tuesday through Thursday morning (September 16-18) in the Languedoc Region of southern France has resulted in flooding that has killed at least four people with two others still missing. The rainfall rates during the storm were phenomenal.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.