The first lunar rover of China, which was carried by an unmanned remotely piloted spacecraft Chang'e-3 was deployed successfully on moon on 14 December 2013. The lunar rover has been named Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese). Chang'e-3 was blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
The Chinese moon exploration has made it one of the only three nations that have soft landed on the surface of moon after United States and the Soviet Union. In past three decades, China is the first country to do so. Earlier, Luna 24 Probe of Soviet Union was the last space mission to land on moon in August 1976. It landed after four years after the launch of the manned Apollo 17 mission by United States.
About the lunar rover - Jade Rabbit
• It is a six-wheeled lunar rover
• It is equipped with four cameras and two mechanical legs, which can dig the soil samples, up to a depth of 30 meters
• For at least for next three months, the solar-powered rover will patrol the moon’s surface to study the structure of lunar crust, soil and rocks
• It weighs 140 kilograms and carries an optical telescope for astronomical observations
• It also have a powerful ultraviolet camera to monitor the effects of solar activity on various layers of Earth’s atmosphere namely troposphere, stratosphere and ionosphere
• Radioisotope heater units of the rover will help it to be functional during cold lunar nights, the time when the temperature of moon goes down up to -180°C
• As per the Shanghai Aerospace Systems Engineering Research Institute, the rover can climb the slopes up to 30 degrees and it can travel at 200 meters per hour
China has been increasingly ambitious in developing its space programmes, for military, commercial and scientific purposes.
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