Search results for: chang'e

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Chinese Spacecraft Returns Safely After A Trip Around The Moon, Details Here

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China-Lunar-Sample-ProgramAfter the week the space travel industry had, we all need a happy space story right about now. This one happens to involve a private spacecraft, but not one built or launched in America. On Saturday, the first privately funded moon mission concluded a successful eight-day return trip.

The mission, called 4M (Manfred Memorial Moon Mission), was developed by LuxSpace, a company from Luxembourg, and coupled with a Chinese lunar flyby mission called Chang’e 5-T1 (you might recognize the name Chang’e from the Yutu mission). The flyby was developed to test China’s new re-entry technology, as the country is ramping up its lunar exploration program, while the 4M project was an experiment in communications and the feasibility of crowdsourcing participation.

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China’s Moon Rover Delivers More Stunning Photos From The Lunar Surface

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Chang'e-3 Lander

Chang’e-3 Lander

In mid-December, China became the third country to land a craft on the moon. But given the holidays and the general madness of the end of the year, it’s easy to forget about that rover and what it might be seeing and doing. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is more than happy to remind us, though, and has released a slew of stunning photos taken by Yutu.

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China Will Launch Moon Rover Yutu On December 1

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yutuWhile the U.S. and Russia haven’t spent much time in the last few decades focused on getting back to the moon, China is stepping up their space program and will soon perform the first soft landing on the moon in 37 years. I bet it’s pretty dusty up there. The nation’s Chang’e-3 mission is set to launch a lander and rover (named Yutu by a popular vote) on December 1 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province. (Technically, it’ll be December 2 their time.)

It will take around five days for Yutu to make it into lunar orbit, and it’s expected to land inside Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on December 14. There’s a joke to be made here about putting Chinese food on board so that it would get to the moon in 30-45 minutes, but it feels slightly derogatory, and this is a celebratory news story.

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China Will Land A Probe On The Moon By The End Of 2013

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china rocketWhile we here at Giant Freakin’ Robot would never claim to be xenophobic, we admit that a good portion of our news about China has to do with their box office totals and their heinous censorship of movies. But we should have been paying more attention to their ascent in the space race, as they’ve moved past exoplanet hunts and their manned trip to the Chinese space station Tiangong 1. In a press statement, the State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense said they are now finished with their plans and construction of an unmanned rover which they intend to land on the moon by the end of this year. (Cue dramatic theremin note.)

The mission is called Chang’e-3, after a mythological character who resided in a lunar palace. The implications of the name are clear, even though it’ll be years before they’re able to send their own astronauts there. But the point is, they aren’t held back by having a lower budget than NASA, or by getting a later start than the U.S. and Russia in the galactic rush. They’re setting goals and they’re reaching them, which has got to make their citizens proud. Incidentally, they set 2020 as the date for their manned lunar mission.