Just after 2100 Beijing time on Sat the 14th of December 2013 China’s “Jade Rabbit” Lunar Rover or 嫦娥3號 touched down on the Lunar surface of Earths only moon. This puts China in the position of being only the third nation in history to land an object on the moon. It also marks 37 years since the last visit by mankind to the moons surface.
The Launch from earth was on the 1st of December so the time taken to travel to the moons surface has almost been 2 weeks. The Rover Landed in an area of flat terrain named Sirus Iridum that is part of a larger named Mare Imbrium that happens to make up part of the eye of what we call the man in the moon.
The intriguing name of “Jade Rabbit” originates from the predominantly Asian folk law tale in which a Rabbit lives on the moon. Specifically in the Chinese case the Rabbit is the companion of a the moon Goddess Chang’e. Jade Rabbit is depicted across Asia as grinding a mortar and pestle but the substance varies from the Japanese and Korean version in which he is making rice cakes to the elixr of immortality in China.
Preparing for a manned missions and further space exploration.
China is hugely ambitious in its forward thrust into space with the most advanced technology in the nation being utilised on this mission. Although the Chinese space program is fraught with secrecy, several prominant figures have stated that it is clear that this is a precursor to China attempting to land people on the moon. Buzz Aldrin the former Apollo astronaut has stated in a article published in Aerospace America that
“Seeing the Chinese lander and rover reveals major breakthroughs in Chinese space engineering,” and the “lander is specifically designed to be scaled up for addition of an ascent stage and crew cabin,”
Full footage of the moon landing below.