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article imageChina: Chang'e 3 and 'Jade Rabbit' landing 'a complete success'

By Igor I. Solar     Dec 16, 2013 in Science
Beijing - China has declared its Chang'e -3 lunar landing “a complete success” after the exploration robot Yutu (Jade Rabbit) and its mother ship photographed each other and sent the images to Earth.
The spokesperson of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP), Pei Zhaoyu said that the images show that both the lander and the robot are working correctly. This test completes the landing stage and allows the beginning of the exploration phase.
The color photographs were broadcast live to China. The process started after Yutu moved to a point about nine meters north of the mother ship, according to China's official Xinhua agency. The rover carried the Chinese flag, the first time China's emblem reached a celestial body.
Yutu (Jade Rabbit) has six wheels and weighs 140 kilos. The rover is controlled by the command center from Earth. It left the landing ship and began to move across the lunar surface on Sunday. Powered by solar panels and equipped with a mechanical arm and several cameras, the rover is able to move at a speed of 200 meters per hour, digging and probing by radar.
Jade Rabbit on the Moon.  Aired live on China Central TV  the Chang e 3 lander took a photo of the r...
Jade Rabbit on the Moon. Aired live on China Central TV, the Chang'e 3 lander took a photo of the recently-deployed Yutu rover, bearing the Chinese flag, on December 15, 2013. Fair Use: Its inclusion in the article adds to the article because the photo and its historical significance are discussed in the article.
Chinese National Space Administration/China Central Television
Over the next three months, the lunar rover will examine the surface and the geological structure of the Moon, while the mother ship will explore for a year the point where it landed.
Chinese Lunar Exploration Program
China's lunar exploration program is divided into three stages: orbiting, landing, and return. CLEP launched its first lunar orbiter, Chang'e-1, in 2007. The mission was scheduled to last a year, but it was extended until March 1, 2009, when the spacecraft was taken out of orbit and impacted on the Moon surface. Data gathered by Chang'e 1 allowed the creation of the most accurate and highest resolution 3-D map ever made of the lunar surface.
The second CLEP orbiter, Chang'e-2, was sent in 2010. It conducted research from a 100-kilometer-high lunar orbit in preparation for the soft landing of the Chang'e 3 lander and its rover on December 14, 2013. After completing its primary objective, the Chang'e-2 left lunar orbit to continue further research which included a fly-by of asteroid 4179 Toutatis. Chang'e-2 continued flying into deeper space and is presently more than 65 million km away from Earth becoming China's first man-made asteroid in the solar system.
The next CLEP lunar mission, Chang'e-4, is scheduled for 2015. Chang'e-5, planned for 2017 is expected to begin the new phase of the Chinese space program. The spacecraft will land on the Moon and return to Earth carrying up to two kilograms of rock material taken from the Moon.
More about China, Space exploration, CLEP, Chang'e 3, Chang'e3 lunar lander
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