China’s moon rover leaves deep trace on lunar soil

PTI Beijing | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on December 15, 2013

China’s first lunar probe today successfully separated from the lander and left deep traces on its loose soil, hours after the communist giant carried out the world’s first soft landing on the lunar surface in nearly 40 years.

“China’s first moon rover, Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, separated from the lander early today. The six-wheeled rover touched the lunar surface at 4:35 a.m, leaving deep trace on the loose lunar soil,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The process was recorded by the camera on the lander and the images were sent to the earth. After the separation, the rover and lander will take photos of each other and start their own scientific explorations, it said.

The landing of the probe Chang’e-3, with China’s first lunar rover, marked the first time that a soft landing has been made on the moon in nearly four decades.

China’s first lunar rover yesterday successfully landed on the moon, making the communist giant one of three world powers to make a “soft landing” as part of an ambitious programme that aims to put a Chinese astronaut on the moon.

The landing was carried out 12 days after the probe blasted off on an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket.

It also made China one of only three nations – after the United States and the former Soviet Union – to soft land on the moon. A soft landing is one which does not damage the spacecraft and the equipment it carries.

The probe is equipped with shock absorbers in its four “legs” to cushion the impact of the landing, making Chang’e-3 – that includes a lander and a moon rover called “Yutu” or Jade Rabbit – the first Chinese spacecraft with “legs.”

The lunar probe touched down in Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, at 9:11 p.m local time, according to Beijing Aerospace Control Centre.

Chang’e-3 relied on auto-control for descent, range and velocity measurements, finding the proper landing point, and free-falling.

Published on December 15, 2013
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