Chinese rover explores moon
A LUNAR rover has begun exploring the terrain in the world’s first mission on the far side of the moon.
Jade Rabbit 2 drove off a ramp and on to the soft, snow-like surface after a Chinese spacecraft made the first landing on the moon’s far side. A photo posted online by China’s space agency showed tracks left by the rover as it headed away.
“It’s a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation,” Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, told state broadcaster CCTV. “This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe.”
Previous moon landings, including America’s six manned missions from 1969 to 1972, have been on the near side of the moon, which faces Earth. The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits but never explored on the surface.
China’s space community is taking pride in the successful landing, which posed technical challenges because the moon blocks direct communication between the spacecraft and its controllers on Earth. China has been trying to catch up with other nations in space exploration.