Sunday, December 15, 2013

UPDATED: Re-living soft-landing on the moon after 37 years.

Yesterday afternoon at 1311 GMT I tuned my radio on the BBC World (transmitted on Campus FM) to hear the details of an exciting news that China has again revived lunar exploration by its first successful robotic lander on the moon. This is indeed a historic lunar arrival that makes the People's Republic of China the third nation to make a soft-landing on our orbiting satellite.

This lander, named "Chang'e 3" has today launched its Yutu rover after yesterday's touchdown.

The location of Chang'e is shown in the image below, which is a composite of lunar images taken by Znith Observatory, Malta on May 30th (21:01-05 GMT) using a 203mm Schmidt Cassegrain scope at f/10. It's location is situated on the fringe of the bay of rainbows - a promising location for such a revival of lunar surface exploration.

Chang'e 3 stationary lander is geared to observe Earth and other celestial objects from the moon, as well as watch the Yutu rover its short voyage across the lunar terrain.

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