Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exploring the Moon from Beijing today

CC Liu, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly;;
The Rabbit (Yutu) and Moon (Chang'e) as seen from the surface of Gaia (4allreligion)
China's first lunar rover separates from Chang'e-3 Moon lander early Dec. 15, 2013 as seen from the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, China (Xinhua).
Control Center, Beijing (Xinhua/NPR)
Very early Sunday morning [Dec. 15, 2013], China's Moon rover, Yutu or "Jade Rabbit," separated from its lander and began its exploration.
This means that China has officially joined the USA and the former USSR as the only three [imperial] countries to make a soft landing and drop an exploratory vehicle on the Moon [named Chang'e in Chinese] safely. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports:
"The 140 kg six-wheeled rover touched the lunar surface at 4:35 a.m., leaving deep trace on the loose lunar soil. The process was recorded by the camera on the lander and the images were sent to the Earth, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
"After the separation, the rover and lander will take photos of each other and start their own scientific explorations.
"Engineers made final checks of the environment of the landing site, the situation of the probe and the solar incidence angle late night on Saturday and sent signals of separation to Chang'e-3.
"Yutu, atop the probe, extended its solar panel and started to drive slowly to the transfer mechanism at 3:10. The transfer mechanism unlocked at 4:06 with one side reaching the moon's surface, allowing the rover to descend to the surface following a ladder mechanism."
As NPR reported yesterday, this is a big deal for China, as it shows off its technical prowess and is a point of national pride. But it's also a big deal for humankind. More

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