by EDWARD PINTO Section Editor
China launched its first ever land rover mission to the moon in the early hours of Monday morning on December 2. The last landing on the moon was the Soviet Union’s in 1976.
Many cameras and scientific tools were surrounding the rocket while it was still on the floor. The mission itself, called the “Chang’e 3” and “Chang’e 1” and 2, blasted off in 2007 and 2010.
“The biggest challenge still remains — to land this safely onto the surface,” Xu Yansong, spokesman with the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, said during a live television interview of the launch on China’s local news live stream website.
That will surely be the toughest part, considering they have not landed one safely and it has not been attempted since 1976. The rocket will have to be positioned right to land so nothing goes wrong and no explosions happen. It will supposedly take three months until it gets to the right landing position.
“I think it’s a step forward for China and I hope everything goes well for them,” said sophomore Lansana Koroma.
The rover, called “Yutu” – meaning of course, Jade Rabbit – and weighing a whopping 310 pounds, contains many scientific instruments to inspect the moon.
The moon is very cold, and the rocket and rover are equipped with special “sleep mode” technology that will help the hardware and software contain heat. The control center that will operate this mission is in Darmstadt, Germany in the European Operations Center. The landing, however, will be controlled by two Chinese tracking stations at Kashi, in the far west of China.
“[T]his is a huge achievement for China and it was all over the news websites and shows on Monday,” said sophomore Deep Sarkaria.
The signals and tracking devices are working near perfect and should work fine all the way throughout the mission. The rover reached the moon’s orbit on Friday and everything is still working smoothly.
China plans to have a space station by the year 2020, and not have to rely on other countries to do their work for them. The government and citizens of China all approve of this, writing positive comments on the internet and expressing their delight on local news stations.
What do you think about this rover and China’s step forward in the technology side of things?