Posts Tagged ‘Sinus Iridum’

Chang’e 3’s Jade Bunny begins gambolling on the moon

December 15, 2013

Chang’e 3 landed on the moon on Saturday and her Jade Bunny has now started gambolling on the moon.

China’s first lunar rover separates from Chang’e-3 moon lander early Dec. 15, 2013. Picture was taken from the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

Xinhua:China’s first moon rover, Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, separated from the lander early on Sunday, several hours after the Chang’e-3 probe soft-landed on the lunar surface.

The 140 kg six-wheeled rover touched the lunar surface at 4:35 a.m., leaving deep trace on the loose lunar soil. The process was recorded by the camera on the lander and the images were sent to the earth, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

After the separation, the rover and lander will take photos of each other and start their own scientific explorations.

Engineers made final checks of the environment of the landing site, the situation of the probe and the solar incidence angle late night on Saturday and sent signals of separation to Chang’e-3.

Yutu, atop the probe, extended its solar panel and started to drive slowly to the transfer mechanism at 3:10.

The transfer mechanism unlocked at 4:06 with one side reaching the moon’s surface, allowing the rover to descend to the surface following a ladder mechanism.

Chang’e-3 landed on the moon’s Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, at 9:11 p.m. Saturday, making China the third country in the world to carry out such a rover mission after the United States and former Soviet Union. 

In ancient Chinese mythology, Yutu was the white pet rabbit of the lunar goddess Chang’e. The name for the rover was selected following an online poll that collected several million votes from people around the world. 

The rover, 1.5 meters long with its two wings folded, 1 m in width and 1.1 m in height, is a highly efficient robot controlled by the command center from the earth. It will face challenges including temperature differences of more than 300 degrees Celsius on the moon. 

Yutu will survey the moon’s geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for one year.

 

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Chang’e-2 mission on track

October 3, 2010

Chang'e programme: Xinhua

On Saturday scientists successfully activated the attitude control engines on Chang’e-2 and trimmed the satellite for the first time on its journey, according to a flight control official in Beijing. “During Chang’e-2’s 380,000-km journey to the moon, we will conduct more orbit corrections if necessary to ensure that it enters a lunar orbit,” said Ma Yongping, vice director of the flight control center. Chang’e-2 blasted off on a Long-March-3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at about 7 p.m. Friday. It is China’s first unmanned spacecraft to be boosted from the launch site directly to the earth-moon transfer orbit, greatly reducing the journey time from that of its predecessor Chang’e-1.

Chang’e-1 took about 13 days to travel to a lunar orbit after orbiting the earth in a geosynchronous orbit and then transferring to the earth-moon transfer orbit. Chang’e-2 is expected to travel for about 112 hours, or almost five days, to arrive in a lunar orbit. To acquire more detailed moon data, Chang’e-2 will enter a lower lunar orbit about 100 km above the surface, compared with the 200-km altitude of Chang’e-1, according to the control center.

Sinus Iridum - Bay of Rainbows

The satellite will eventually be maneuvered into an orbit just 15 kilometer above the moon. At that point, Chang’e-2 will take pictures of moon’s Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum)  area, the proposed landing ground for Chang’e-3, with a resolution of 1.5 meters. The resolution on Chang’e-1’s camera was 120 meters, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar orbiter project.


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