China launches moon rover
December 16 , 2013
China has announced that its unmanned rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit) has successfully been deployed on the surface of the moon and has started sending back photographs of the lunar surface. The Chang'e 3 lunar lander landed on the moon on Saturday, 14th December at around 9:12 pm, Beijing time. The lander deployed the Jade Rabbit on the lunar surface where it began its mission, which is expected to last several months. The lunar rover has been deployed in the Sinus Iridum or Bay of Rainbows, in the northern hemisphere of the moon.
China is now the third country in the world after the former USSR and the US to achieve such a technological feat. Zheng Yong-Chun of the National Astronomical Observatories announced that "Chang'e 3 has been landed successfully on the surface of the moon...May Yutu (Jade Rabbit) begin exciting new exploration."
The Yutu lunar rover is named after a Chinese mythological character, a pet rabbit that travels with the goddess Chang'e to the moon. China has named each of its three moon missions till date after the legend of Chang'e. Two previous orbiter missions Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 were launched in 2007 and 2010.