Chang’e flew to the moon

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -


China suc­cess­fully launched the Chang’e-3 lu­nar probe from Xichang Satel­lite Launch Center in Sichuan prov­ince on Dec 2, which is another achieve­ment in its moon mis­sion. Chang’e-3 is China’s first lu­nar rover and will be its first space­craft to soft-land on the sur­face of an ex­trater­res­trial body.

Chang’e-3 com­prises a lan­der and a moon rover named Yutu, or Jade Rab­bit. The moon rover is tasked with sur­vey­ing the moon’s sur­face and ge­o­log­i­cal struc­ture, and look­ing for nat­u­ral re­sources. It will send back 3D im­ages, mea­sure in­frared spec­trums and an­a­lyze the lu­nar soil.

China’s lu­nar mis­sion is di­vided into three stages — or­bit­ing, land­ing, and re­turn­ing to Earth. Chang’e-3 is part of the sec­ond phase of China’s lu­nar pro­gram fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the Chang’e-1 and Chang’e-2 mis­sions in 2007 and 2010. China is look­ing to com­plete the third step of its lu­nar pro­gram in 2017, when it will hope­fully land another probe on the moon, re­lease a moon rover and bring back the probe to Earth.

The Chi­nese peo­ple have al­ways been fas­ci­nated by the moon. They have turned that fas­ci­na­tion into beau­ti­ful imag­i­na­tion seen in folk tales and clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture. Chang’e is the moon god­dess who swal­lowed im­mor­tal­ity pills alone and flew from the Earth to the moon, leav­ing her hus­band Hou Yi be­hind. On the moon, she only had Yutu for com­pany in the Grand Chill Palace. The launch of the lu­nar probe named af­ter the god­dess sym­bol­izes the jour­ney of Chang’e to the moon and her trans­for­ma­tion into a light fairy.

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