China lands wheeled lunar rover on the Moon becoming only the third nation to do so16 Dec 2013, 09:36 UTC
At 1311 GMT on 14 December, China’s space programme managed to land its first rover exploration vehicle on another body when its Chang’e 3 lander touched down on the Moon. Following a breaking burn to reduce the velocity of the craft from 1.7km/s to approach velocity, the craft came into a hover at about 100m altitude while checks were made that a landing zone was clear of debris. A successful landing then took place at the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum).
China’s Yutu rover is televised rolling onto the lunar surface. Courtesy: China National Space Administration (CNSA)
The electrically powered unmanned rover named Yutu (Jade Rabbit) was driven off the lander a few hours later becoming the third nation after USA and Russia to drive a wheeled rover vehicle on the Moon. The rover which carries several scientific instruments is to undertake a three month mission of exploration.
Yutu lunar rover showing the Chinese national flag and telecommunications dish on the Moon. Courtesy: CNSA/CCTV
Comment by David Todd: It was the landing itself is the most impressive feet in this mission. China has now demonstrated that it has the technology to land its astronauts (“taikonauts) on the Moon. As such ...