CHINA OFF TO THE MOON TODAY!
Illustration Credit: CSNA: CLICK photo to view larger size and see below for links and a video.
LAUNCH ALERT: And my apologies on the short notice but China likes to keep random secrets until last minute.
On Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 17:30 UTC (12:30 EST) a Chinese Long March 3B or Chang-Zheng 3B (CZ-3B) will be lifting off from the Xichang Space Center, China carrying the first mission to make a “soft landing” (Non-Impact) on the Moon since the Soviet lander; Luna-24 on August 22, 1976 and the first rover on the
Moon since Luna 21 deployed Lunokhod 2 on January 16, 1973.
This mission is called Chang’e3 and it’s a lunar rover mission called Yutu or “Jade Rabbit”. Landing of Chang’e3 will be taking place on approximately December 14, 2013 and the scheduled landing zone is Sinus Iridum or “Bay of rainbows”. Chang’e3 is the third in the Chang’e series with the first two being lunar orbiters.
In Chinese mythology Yutu is the rabbit that accompanies Chang’e (Goddess of the Moon who took an immortality pill) to the moon so it’s a beautifully fitting name to the mission. In 1969 as Apollo 11 was preparing
to descend to the Moon’s surface, Houston warned the three astronauts “Watch
out for the lovely girl with the big rabbit.”
Michael Collins then replied “We’ll keep a close eye out for the Bunny
Chang’e3 Mission Info:
European Space Agency (ESA) aid to China’s Chang’e 3:
China National Space Administration (CNSA):