China launches rocket with its first moon lander and rover

Chinese Launch

BEIJING
In hopes of ensuring that the next man on the moon is Chinese, Beijing launched a rocket carrying a buggy-like vehicle that is expected to roam and explore the moon’s surface for three months.
The Long March rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 1:30 a.m. Monday, Beijing time (9:30 a.m. PST Sunday), the official Xinhua news agency reported.
If all goes as planned, a landing vehicle and the roving vehicle will touch down on the moon’s surface in about two weeks. It will be the first time that anybody has done a soft landing (one in which the vehicle remains intact) on the moon since 1976, when the Soviet Union landed the Luna 24 probe.
The unmanned rover is a gold-colored vehicle that looks like a dune buggy. It is expected to conduct various scientific experiments such as planting a telescope on the moon’s surface and exploring under the surface of the moon, as well as transmitting photographs back to Earth.
The real purpose, aerospace experts believe, is to practice the techniques to eventually put a man on the moon.

“It comes at a time when America is dithering. Russia has lost the plot a bit. China sees the possibility of leading,” said David Whitehouse, a British astrophysicist who has written a book about the moon. “It will upset the Americans because the Americans think they own the moon.”
For domestic audiences, the propaganda value is huge and Chinese media are playing it to the hilt. Even the name of the rover, Jade Rabbit, was selected by a public poll. The name refers to the pet rabbit of the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e – which is the name of the landing vehicle as well. Two previous Chang’e missions orbited the moon in 2007 and 2010.

The rocket launch was broadcast live on Chinese television, although viewership was reduced by the early-morning timing.

“The timing is dictated more by physics than by propaganda,” said Morris Jones, an Australian space analyst. He said that while the launch itself was relatively uncomplicated, as is the task of getting into orbit around the moon – something China has already done twice – the landing could be more difficult.

“Landing on the moon is far trickier than simply going into orbit. There is no margin for error,” he said.

China’s state news service described the mission as the “most complicated and difficult task in China’s space exploration.”

“More than 80% of the technologies adopted in the mission are new,” Wu Zhijian, spokesman with State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, told the news service last week.

Only the United States and the Soviet Union have successfully landed on the moon in the past. The U.S. is the only nation to land people on the moon.

Moon exploration enthusiasts are eagerly waiting to learn what the Chinese mission will uncover.
Since the burst of moon exploration in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the 1969 landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the moon’s appeal has waned in favor of the planets and asteroids. In 2010, President Obama axed plans for the Constellation program that was supposed to return Americans to the moon by 2020.

“People wanted to explore the planets. We wanted to see more distant worlds,” said Jones. “But even though there was so much exploration of the moon in the 1960s and the 1970s, in recent years, we have found out things about the moon we never suspected when astronauts went there. We have found areas where there is water ice and regions colder than Pluto. There are still many surprises.”

By: Barbara Demick
To view the original article CLICK HERE

Related Posts: 
  • Atafu Atoll, Tokelau, in the Southern Pacific Ocean
  • And here's what the capsule looks like without all the flashing lights. It's kind of gumdrop-shaped:
  • Virgin Galactic on the Tarmac
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off.
  • Orion Exploration flight test one
  • Photo of the moon from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
  • Soyuz Liftoff
  • NASA's LADEE spacecraft was imaged above the surface of the Moon as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Spaceport Map
  • Photo by Mark Rademaker
    Faster than Light: Warp Drive - SpaceVision 2013
  • Viewing map
  • Mars Landscape
  • Mission Control
  • Microgravity Training
  • ISS
  • Newton Engine
  • Dream Chaser
  • Waypoint2Space Zero Gravity Simulation Spaceflight Fundamentals
  • Spaceport America Company Locations
  • Launch Pad
  • Spacewalking Astronaut
  • SpaceShipTwo
  • Dream Chaser
  • Spacewalking Astronaut
  • Falcon 9 Liftoff
  • LADEE
  • F9R 1000m Fin Flight | Onboard Cam and Wide Shot
  • File picture of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada is seen as it is launched from a newly refurbished launch pad in Vandenberg Air Force Station. CREDIT: REUTERS/GENE BLEVINS
  • Falcon 9 First Stage Reentry Footage from Plane
  • Leaked Star Wars Episode VII Filmset Footage!
  • Time Capsule to Mars Press Conference (excerpts)
  • Stock Xcor Photo
  • Dream Chaser New Concept of Operations
  • Astronaut Tim Peake
  • Richard Branson: I Want You to Be an Astronaut
  • First SpaceX capsule to deliver to the ISS
  • Falcon 9 First Stage Return | ORBCOMM Mission
  • Viewing Map
  • Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Cygnus Launch
  • ISS Crossing the Orlando Skyline
  • FAA Logo
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Sochi Olympic Torch in Space
  • NASA Commercial interests
    Highlights from Commercial Flights to the International Space Station
  • Commercial Space Program Success
  • Cape Canaveral
  • Free Floating NASA Astronaut
  • Virgin Galactic Celebration
  • Virgin Galactic Spaceship2
  • SpaceX Dragon launch
  • PayPal Galactic: Aiming For The Final Frontier
  • NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
  • Olympic Soyz
  • Zero Gravity training
  • WhiteKnight and SpaceShipTwo taking off
  • SNC's Dream Chaser First Free-Flight Approach-and-Landing Test
  • Cygnus detaching from ISS
  • US astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted this striking photo of storm clouds above Ghana as seen from the International Space Station.on October 8, 2013. Credit: Karen Nyberg/NASA
  • Boeing CTS-100 Capsule in orbit
  • EVA from the Movie "Gravity"
  • Cygnus on Launchpad
  • SpaceShipTwo
  • Maven
  • SpaceX rocket Waiting to launch
  • SES-8 Patch
  • Falcon 9 launch
  • Moon landing
  • X-37B
  • Let's Create History Together
  • $75K 'Edge Of Space' Balloon Ride Gets FAA Approval | Animation
  • Bigelow
  • Chinese-Brazilian Rocket
  • NASA Launch Pad
  • Venus
  • Rocket on pad
  • Mojave Desert
  • ISS
  • Maven Launch
  • Silicon Valley entrepreneurs set sights on space travel
  • Solar Flare
  • VASIMR Orbital Sweeper for Space Debris Removal
  • International Space Station
  • Object tracking Map
  • ISS
  • Mars probe flyby
  • Antarctica Lab
  • Space Shuttle on Plane

Categories

Monthly Archive