News / Science & Technology

    China Launches Moon Rover Mission

    The Long March-3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province, in the early morning hours, Dec. 2, 2013.
    The Long March-3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province, in the early morning hours, Dec. 2, 2013.
    VOA News
    China says the launch of its first ever robotic mission to the moon's surface has been a success

    The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, which includes the "Jade Rabbit" rover buggy, blasted off early Monday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's southwestern Sichuan province.

    The probe is scheduled to land on the moon in mid-December to explore its surface and look for natural resources. China aims to become only the third nation to carry out a lunar rover mission following ones from the United States and former Soviet Union decades earlier.

    Morris Jones, an Australia-based independent Asia space analyst, says this mission is, in many ways, China's most ambitious.

    "Landing on the moon is going to be tricky," Jones said. "The moon is fairly treacherous terrain. There is no pilot on board, and so it's going to take a lot of skill by the onboard computer to steer the vehicle to a safe landing."

    This craft is expected to make a "soft" lunar landing, which was last accomplished by the Soviet Union in 1976. “Hard” crash landings are easier, and China crashed a craft into the moon in 2009.

    President Xi Jinping has said he wants China to establish itself as a space superpower, and the mission has inspired widespread pride in China's growing technological prowess.

    The RAND Corporation's Scott Harold said the space program underscores China's technological nationalism.

    "It's definitely a part of the Chinese government's efforts to show that they are coming of age," Harold said. "They are really increasing their technological sophistication and they're playing on a very big stage."

    Online reactions to the launch from the Chinese public were mixed, ranging from expressions of pride of country to criticism that the accomplishment was done without the consent of the people and did nothing to help clothe and feed the population.

    Beijing aims to establish a permanent space station by 2020 and eventually send someone to the moon.

    In 2007, China launched its first moon orbiter, the Chang'e-1 - named after a lunar goddess - which took images of the surface and analyzed the distribution of elements.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Bender from: Italy
    December 02, 2013 12:30 PM
    Come on America! Wake up!
    What are you waiting for?
    What does it happening to you?
    Where is next spacecraft, after the Shuttle?
    Come on guys, America is your name!

    by: Lin from: UK
    December 02, 2013 11:07 AM
    I would like to say to D. Stewart, that he is correct, the Chinese are not innovative thinkers like the Jews, they are not very productive workers like the Germans and they are not very resourceful engineers like the Americans. They are just like blood suckers who would copy everything and manufacture it cheaply because they hate they own kind. You have no idea of the brutality they show each other. they are diseased and contaminated people.
    In Response

    by: cal from: canada
    December 02, 2013 12:51 PM
    Say nothing, wait for another 10 years, then see what happens.

    by: lin from: China
    December 02, 2013 6:40 AM
    Great job!
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 03, 2013 5:31 PM
    Yes, if soft landing is completed successfully.

    by: D. Stewart from: USA
    December 02, 2013 5:25 AM
    I have been involved, junior capacity, with several missions. and I am disgusted to learn how little the Chinese have shared their experience. well, really they have shared nothing. and almost all their program had been copied (duplicated) from ours. China is a disgusting regime with a degenerated mentality. do not trust the Chinese...!!
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 03, 2013 6:49 PM
    I partly agree with you. We could notice that there are few inventions nor innovations made by Chinese people contibuting to developement and welfare of mankind. Look, how few Chinese people have won Nobel prize! What I can recall is only gunpowder probably as an invention of Chinese.

    China has a so great number of population that there must be not a few genius who can play such a useful role for mankind. China has a mission not for threatenning neighbors but educating its nation contributing to progress of human life.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    December 02, 2013 10:22 AM
    If all Chinese techs copied from you then why you need them to be shared?
    America keeps China out from all it's space programs including the international spacestation programs, why should China share any of hers?
    America is the most disgusting regime!

    by: Dick from: Vietnam
    December 02, 2013 1:46 AM
    Use the knowledge and technology to do good thing.
    Please do not use it to invade or build tension in the Southeast Asia region.
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 03, 2013 5:28 PM
    To Dick, I agree with you. China is aiming at getting the moon to its territory!?
    In Response

    by: xu from: Japan
    December 02, 2013 6:43 AM
    it is a scientific research. there is nothing related to the Southeast Asia region, ok?

    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    December 02, 2013 12:21 AM
    Go China go! I am so proud of my motherland!
    Wish the whole mission successful!

    by: Totti from: Tokyo
    December 01, 2013 11:44 PM
    Great work, and I hope this will help people to reliaze the universe.

    by: Jeff
    December 01, 2013 6:44 PM
    Congrats to China on their first mission to the Moon's surface!
    In Response

    by: Brent from: USA
    December 04, 2013 2:44 PM
    China is a fascist nation that must be challenged at every turn. They are predatory data & technology thieves. They violate all human rights norms. They really do not belong to the group of advanced nations - they just stole the technology to make themselves look like pioneers. I hope the Chinese people revolt soon.
    In Response

    by: Pete1994 from: China
    December 01, 2013 8:09 PM
    I feel so proud.Congrats to China.Hope China will succeed in achieving the mission.

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