Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a lunar probe named after a jade rabbit? Well, the latter actually. Launched on December 2 and landing twelve days later, in a historic moment for China, Yutu (玉兔, Jade Rabbit) rover has separated from the Chang’e 3 (嫦娥三号, Goddess of the Moon 3) lander, after it’s successful landing on the moon and begun exploring.
The Lunar lander image.
Courtesy of www.news.cn
As it rolled down the ramp on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum, Saturday, its first moments were captured by the landing craft. Then on Sunday, the two began a photographing each other.
Yutu rover image courtesy of www.news.cn
This mission was deemed a success by Ma Xingrui, the chief commander of China’s lunar program. The photos document the first time that the Chinese flag has been taken into space.
The Yutu rover, which will explore the moon for three months, will gather soil and mineral samples as well as testing out new technologies built for the rover. China has space aims beyond the moon and it is hoped this particular bout of lunar probing will shape future mission.
images courtesy of www.News.cn