|The Automatic Lunar Surface Exploring Vehicle, China's planned Chang'e-3 lunar rover, "a solar powered vehicle designed and built by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). The six-wheeled rover has a designed life of 90 days to explore three square kilometers, a total mass of 120 kg (with a 20kg payload capacity) designed to travel up to 10 kilometers." LP illustration, "Will China deploy the first lunar rover since 1976? - April 30, 2012.|
The Planetary Society
One of the missions planned for launch this year is China's Chang'E 3. I had never paid any attention to Chang'E 3 until this week, so I had no idea how large or ambitious it is. Chang'E 3 is a 1200-kilogram, RTG-powered lunar soft lander with a 1-year nominal mission lifetime. On top of that, it includes a 100-kilogram rover equipped with cameras and APXS. The rover has a nominal lifetime of 3 months and range of 10 kilometers. Wow. Here's a cool artist's concept that Glen Nagle put together. Enjoy it -- this is the first time it's been published!
China announced late in 2011 that Chang'E 3 would be a lunar soft lander, to launch in 2013. Computer animations played on Chinese TV around that time (go to the 30-second mark) showed a lander deploying a smaller MER-like, solar-powered rover, with six basket-rimmed wheels and two pairs of cameras on a mast. It is expected to land in Sinus Iridum, an area well surveyed by Chang'E 2.
Read the excellent digest and review, HERE.
A Few Related Posts:
'China's grand plan for lunar exploration' (October 12, 2012)
ILOA to study deep space from Chang'E-3 (September 11, 2012)
China and the Moon (June 19, 2012)
Will China deploy the first lunar rover since 1976? (April 30, 2012)
China plans lunar research base (May 11, 2011)
PRC continues methodical program (March 9, 2011)