China Lands Jade Rabbit on the Moon
Joins the U.s. and russia as countries that have landed on the Moon
Last month, the People’s Republic of China became the third country in the world to have successfully launched and landed a vehicle on the Moon. The space honor was previously held by the United States of America and the Russian Federation. The Chang’e lander and accompanying rover, named the “Jade Rabbit” (or Yutu) after an Asian mythological rabbit who is said to live on the moon, successfully soft landed within an area of the Moon called ‘Bay of Rainbows.’
“This is a very big deal indeed,” said lunar scientist Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. “Landing on the moon is not something easily attained—it requires precision maneuvering, tracking, computation and engineering. It is a delicate task and the Chinese success reflects a mature, evolving and capable program.”
The Jade Rabbit is one of the first man-made vehicles to land on the moon in 37 years. The Jade Rabbit is slated to spend several months studying the lunar surface, in hopes that it will help its hosts, who are watching from Earth, to find anything that would suggest long-term sustainability of life on the moon. At the time, the Rover had already snapped more than 4,600 images of the moon surface after merely one day of puttering around its landing site. However, the PRC hasn’t release any of these pictures, save for one photo of the rover itself.
China’s Moon Rover, Jade Rabbit, as it poses for the camera at the landing site.