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  China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe and rover "Yutu"

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Author Topic:   China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe and rover "Yutu"
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-25-2013 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China to launch Chang'e-3 probe and rover "Yutu"

China will launch its Chang'e-3 moon probe in early December, the state news agency Xinhua reported.


Credit: Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering

The lunar probe will land on the moon in mid-December, if everything is successful, Wu Zhijian, a spokeman for the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), said Monday (Nov. 25).

Chang'e-3, encompassing a lander and a moon rover, will mark the first time China has attempted to soft land a spacecraft on the surface of a celestial body.

The touchdown target is believed to be Sinus Iridum, known as the Bay of Rainbows, a plain of basaltic lava on the moon.

Moon rover "Yutu"

The Chang'e-3 mission's moon rover has been named "Yutu", or "jade rabbit," following a poll that sought name ideas from Chinese citizens worldwide.

In Chinese folklore, Yutu was the white pet rabbit of Chang'e, the moon goddess.

See here for discussion of the China's Chang'e-3 mission and "Yutu" rover.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28942
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-01-2013 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China launches 'Jade Rabbit' rover on first moon landing mission

China's first lunar rover is bound for the moon, having launched Sunday (Dec. 1) on a mission that, if successful, will establish China as the third nation to soft land a spacecraft on Earth's natural satellite.

China's Chang'e 3 probe, with its "Yutu" moon rover, lifted off at 11:30 a.m. CST (1730 GMT; 1:30 a.m. Dec. 2 local time) on top of a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the country's southwest region.

The Chang'e 3 lander and rover are expected to enter orbit around the moon Friday (Dec. 6) and then spend another week decelerating through six stages, lowering it to just 9 miles (15 km) above the surface, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.

Then on Dec. 14, the 8,400-pound (3,800-kg) four-legged lander will attempt a powered descent to the moon's Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, autonomously navigating to a touchdown using onboard optical and microwave sensors.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28942
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-06-2013 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China's Chang'e-3 enters lunar orbit

China's Chang'e-3 probe entered a circular lunar orbit at 3:53 a.m. CST (0953 GMT, 5:53 p.m. Beijing Time) Friday (Dec. 6), after about 112 hours on an Earth-Moon transfer orbit, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

The spacecraft entered orbit after 361 seconds of braking maneuvers using its variable thrust engine, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The BACC confirmed that Chang'e-3 had entered a 62 mile high (100 km) lunar circular orbit.

The Chang'e-3 lander with its Yutu rover is expected to touch down in the moon's Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum) on Dec. 14.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2013 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China's Chang'e-3 probe and rover makes first moon landing in 37 years

Beijing, the Bay of Rainbows Sea of Rains here, the Jade Rabbit has landed.

China on Saturday (Dec. 14) achieved its first-ever moon landing, placing a four-legged probe and six-wheeled lunar rover on the surface of Earth's nearest celestial neighbor. The feat established China as only the third country in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon, after the United States and former Soviet Union.

China's Chang'e 3 unmanned lander touched down at 7:11 a.m. CST (1311 GMT or 9:11 p.m. Beijing time) at Mare Imbrium, also known as the Sea of Rains (or Showers), a basaltic lava plain in the northwest quadrant of the moon as viewed from Earth. A screen in Beijing mission control gave the landing coordinates as 19.51° W, 44.12° N.

The landing site was east of what Chinese space program officials had said was the target, Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, and it was not immediately made clear if that was by plan or happenstance.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 12-14-2013 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China's "Jade Rabbit" rolls off lander

China's first moon rover, Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit," separated from the Chang'e-3 lander several hours after the probe touched down on the lunar surface.

The six-wheeled rover left its first wheel-print on the moon's surface at 2:35 p.m. CST (2035 GMT or 0435 Beijing time Dec. 15), leaving deep tracks in the loose lunar regolith. The deployment was recorded by the camera on the lander and broadcast back to Earth.

The transfer mechanism with Yutu aboard unlocked at 2:06 p.m. CST (2006 GMT or 0406 Beijing time Dec. 15) with one side reaching the moon's surface, allowing the rover to descend to the surface.

During their first day together on the moon, the rover and lander will take photos of each other and start their own scientific explorations.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-15-2013 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China's moon rover, lander photograph each other

China's first moon rover and lander took photos of each other on the moon's surface on Sunday (Dec. 15), a move that Chinese officials said marked "a complete success" of the country's Chang'e-3 lunar probe mission.

Ma Xingrui, chief commander of China's lunar program, announced that Chang'e-3 mission was a "complete success," the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

At about 9:42 a.m. CST (1542 GMT; 11:42 p.m. Beijing Time), the six-wheeled Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit," moved to a spot about 30 feet (9 meters) north of the lander to begin the photo session.

The color images, transmitted live to Earth, revealed the flag of China on Yutu. It marked the first time that the five-star red flag was seen on another celestial body.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-22-2013 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lunar rover Yutu resumes exploring after 'sleep'

China's lunar rover "Yutu" has resumed its explorations after taking a break for a few days, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

On Monday (Dec. 16), Yutu entered a "sleep mode" to withstand the high temperatures during the lunar day. Data received from the rover indicate that the rover's parts that were under direct sunlight reached over 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).

Initially the rover was expected to "wake up" on Monday (Dec. 23), but controllers opted to resume operations on Friday.

The six-wheeled rover had traveled about 68 feet (21 meters) as of Saturday evening, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), the latest photos captured on Sunday (Dec. 22) showed for the first time China's national flags on both Yutu and the lander.

Pictures of the lander's five-star red flag could not be taken during previous photo-shooting operations because the flag's position was not facing the camera, Xinhua reported.

The latest photo operations will be the last in which the lander and rover take photos of each other.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28942
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-14-2014 07:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moon rover, lander wake after lunar night

China's moon rover Yutu ("Jade Rabbit") and the Chang'e-3 lander "woke up" Saturday (Jan. 11) after a two (Earth) week "slumber" that began Dec. 26 to survive the harsh temperatures of the lunar night.

The Yutu six-wheeled rover awakened autonomously and resumed normal operations, beginning to rove again around the lunar surface, according to a statement issued by the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) and reported by the state-run news agency Xinhua.

The Chang'e-3 lunar also restarted its scientific studies, the statement said.

One night on the moon lasts about 14 days on Earth, during which the temperature falls below minus 350° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius) and there is no sunlight to provide power to the instruments' solar panels.

"During the lunar night, the lander and the rover were in a power-off condition and the communication with Earth was also cut off," Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of the BACC, said.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28942
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-14-2014 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yutu rover 'lives' to see third lunar day

China's moon rover Yutu has emerged "alive" after its second lunar night, despite suffering technical problems that called its survivability into question, China space officials have said.

"Yutu has come back to life," Pei Zhaoyu, the lunar probe program's spokesman, said after the rover's inactivity had inspired news reports that it had "frozen to death" overnight.

One night on the moon is about 14 days on Earth, during which the temperature falls below minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

Pei said that Yutu has returned to where it can receive signals as normal, but ground controllers are still working to verify the cause of its mechanical control issues, the Xinhua news agency reported.

"Yutu went to sleep under an abnormal status," Pei said. "Now that it is still alive, the rover stands a chance of being saved."

"Hi, anybody there?" the rover "asked" after waking in a post to Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, which prompted some 60,000 reposts and 40,000 comments within two hours.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28942
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-23-2014 05:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yutu rover 'sleeps' after static third lunar day

China's Yutu moon rover returned to "sleep" Saturday (Feb. 22), as the sun set on the "Jade Rabbit" following a lunar day spent standing still.

Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported on Sunday that the rover and its Chang'e-3 lander, entered a third period of dormancy in an attempt to survive the cold lunar night. One night on the moon is about 14 days on Earth, during which temperatures fall below minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

Above: The Chang'e-3 lander as imaged by the "Yutu" rover prior to their third night on the moon.

"Mechanical control issues that might cripple the vehicle [remain] still unresolved," Xinhua reported.

Yutu only carried out "fixed point observations" during its third lunar day, according to SASTIND, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

The rover's radar, panorama camera and infrared imaging equipment are functioning normally, Xinhua reported, but it has not been able to move since encountering a mechanical problem prior to beginning its second night on the moon.

See here for discussion of the China's Chang'e-3 mission and "Yutu" rover.

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