Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Chang'E-3 lander and rover expected in 2013

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.
Emily Lakdawalla
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 and the Moon (June 19, 2012)

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