Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chang'e-3: The Chinese Rover Mission

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." Illustration from "Will China deploy the first lunar rover since 1976?" - April 30, 2012.
Steve Nerlich

Currently scheduled for launch in December 2013, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, the Chang’e 3 mission aims to land a Chinese rover on the Moon. If the mission is successful, it will be the first soft landing on the Moon since the Russian Luna 24 mission in 1976. Overseen by the China National Space Administration, the Chang’e program is following a step-wise approach to lunar exploration that could lead to the first taikonaut stepping onto the Moon by 2025.

The previous Chang’e 1 and 2 lunar orbiting missions, launched in 2007 and 2010, represented the first phase of the Chang’e program. Chang’e 3, to be followed by Chang’e 4, represent the second phase of the program, both involving rovers. The third phase, with Chang’e 5, will be sample-return mission and is currently scheduled for 2017. After that, it is anticipated that a new program will commence, which might culminate in a manned landing.

Chang’e is the name of a Chinese goddess who ascended to the Moon after consuming an immortality pill and there befriended a jade rabbit who was already a lunar resident. The elements of this legend were relayed by NASA to the Apollo 11 crew ahead of the first Moon landing in 1969. Michael Collins famously responded “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl”.
Read the full article, HERE.

1 comment:

Sika said...

Heard from it for the first time, really interesting!