China's Lunar Probe Soft-Lands On The Moon, Carries China's First Moon Rover

Tyler Durden's picture

Hours ago, China's lunar probe Chang'e-3, carrying the nation's first moon rover onboard, successfully landed on the moon, making it the first time China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body, joining only the US and the former Soviet Union in accomplishing such a feat. Chang'e-3 is the world's first soft-landing of a probe on the moon in nearly four decades. The last such soft-landing was carried out by the Soviet Union in 1976. As Reuters reports, the Chang'e 3, a probe named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, is carrying the solar-powered Yutu, or Jade Rabbit buggy, which will dig and conduct geological surveys. China has been increasingly ambitious in developing its space programs, for military, commercial and scientific purposes. This is a teaser to China's next space ambition - building its own space station. In its most recent manned space mission in June, three astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, part of Beijing's quest to build a working space station by 2020.

According to Xinhua news service the spacecraft touched down in the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, after hovering over the surface for several minutes seeking an appropriate place to land.

A soft landing does not damage the craft and the equipment it carries. As Reuters adds, in 2007, China put another lunar probe in orbit around the moon, which then executed a controlled crash on to its surface.

The Bay of Rainbows was selected because it has yet to be studied, has
ample sunlight and is convenient for remote communications with Earth,
Xinhua said.

China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast images of the probe's location on Saturday and a computer generated image of the probe on the surface of the moon on its website. The probe and the rover are expected to photograph each other tomorrow.


Xinhua's far prouder summary of the landing is below:

The lunar probe began to carry out soft-landing on the moon at 9 p.m. Saturday and touched down in Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, 11 minutes later, according to Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

During the process, the probe decelerated from 15 km above the moon, stayed hovering at 100 meters from the lunar surface to use sensors to assess the landing area to avoid obstacles and locate the final landing spot, and descended slowly onto the surface.

The success made China the third country, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to soft-land on the moon.

Compared to those other two countries, which have successfully conducted 13 soft-landings on the moon, China's soft-landing mission designed the suspension and obstacle-avoiding phases to survey the landing area much more precisely through fitted detectors, scientists said.

The probe's soft-landing is the most difficult task during the mission, said Wu Weiren, the lunar program's chief designer.

Chang'e-3 relied on auto-control for descent, range and velocity measurements, finding the proper landing point, and free-falling.

The probe is equipped with shock absorbers in its four "legs" to cushion the impact of the landing, making Chang'e-3 the first Chinese spacecraft with "legs."

Chang'e-3 adopted a variable thrust engine completely designed and made by Chinese scientists. It can realize continuous variation of thrust power ranging from 1,500 to 7,500 newtons, according to Wu Weiren.

The soft-landing was carried out 12 days after the probe blasted off on an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket.

Chang'e-3 includes a lander and a moon rover called "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit).

Yutu's tasks include surveying the moon's geological structure and surface substances and looking for natural resources. The lander will operate there for one year while the rover will be there for three months.

Chang'e-3 is part of the second phase of China's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to the Earth. It follows the success of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.

The successful landing shows China has the ability of in-situ exploration on an extraterrestrial body, said Sun Huixian, deputy engineer-in-chief in charge of the second phase of China's lunar program.

A renewed moon fever has sprung up in recent years following the lunar probe climax in the 1960s and 1970s.

Chang'e-3 is the world's first soft-landing of a probe on the moon in nearly four decades. The last such soft-landing was carried out by the Soviet Union in 1976.

"Compared to the last century's space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union, mankind's current return to the moon is more based on curiosity and exploration of the unknown universe," Sun said.

"China's lunar program is an important component of mankind's activities to explore peaceful use of space," according to the engineer-in-chief.

For an ancient civilization like China, landing on the moon embodies another meaning. The moon, a main source for inspiration, is one of the most important themes in Chinese literature and ancient Chinese myths, including that about Chang'e, a lady who took her pet "Yutu" to fly toward the moon, where she became a goddess.

"Though people have discovered that the moon is bleached and desolate, it doesn't change its splendid role in Chinese traditional culture," said Zhang Yiwu, a professor with Peking University.

"Apart from scientific exploration, the lunar probe is a response to China's traditional culture and imagination. China's lunar program will proceed with the beautiful legends," Zhang said.

"I am so excited about the news. It carries my space dream," a netizen "Roger-Kris" posted on the Sina Weibo. "I am now so interested in space and I want to study science when I go to college."

"I am looking forward to seeing more pictures sent back by Chang'e-3," he said.

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Sudden Debt's picture

It's just sad we haven't gone any further in it since the 70's...

all we got was Kubrics tablets...

The man with pointy horns's picture

It's said the aliens scared NASA away...

So What's picture

In one hundred years, all the space accomplishments of the USA will be a footnote, a small footnote in humanity's quest for space exploration and eventual colonization. The Chinese think along term, hundreds of years, and plan for such ventures. The first man on Mars will probably be Chinese or Russians.
While USA is sucked dry by middle east and Israhell and its goons.

Future Jim's picture
The Funger Games


If you can understand The Funger Games, then you can understand how the world really works because …

You better wake up. The world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping! There is another world beneath it: the real world.

Yes … I just quoted Blade.

The Funger Games is where the Federal Reserve calls forth the 6 most favored banks (who own the Federal Reserve) and says to them:

The Federal Reserve shall distribute 3 trillion dollars amongst you – the chosen people – at zero percent interest. You must take your share and you are not allowed to pay it back for 100 years.


The 3 trillion shall enter the economy regardless of your actions; however, the chosen people are not equally worthy. Your share shall be determined by a series of puzzles that will be more easily solved by all the best young minds in engineering, mathematics, and the physical sciences.


To acquire and protect all the best young minds in science and engineering, you must construct a sword and a shield made from all the best minds in business, law, and politics.


Those who acquire the most minds shall win the largest share.

SafelyGraze's picture

NASA reports "near collision" between its rover and the chinese rover

Harlequin001's picture

No chance of that, the NASA rover isn't there...

BigJim's picture

Frankly, I prefer the Chinese version of Hope and Chang'e to ours.

Headbanger's picture

Then go fucking live there and see how you like it you mook!

And we all know the Nazis have colonized the moon since 1945!

mjcOH1's picture

"It's just sad we haven't gone any further in it since the 70's...

all we got was Kubrics tablets..."


But we gots the EBT, yo!

sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

You know, maybe the Chinese can help us out a little and bring back the real Consumer Price Index.  You know, while they're up there and all.

snodgrass's picture

The Chinese are a very racist group. If the Chink communist party was willing to eliminate 85 million of their own, what do you think they will do to you? Currently they are buying up property in the US which they will fill with their own. They will bribe local officials and turn America into China light full of people who breed like rats and treat others like roaches.

Bunga Bunga's picture

How many of their own have Americans killed?

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Uh, that is America buddy. 'Cept everyone is a roach.

Zero Point's picture


Yeah... I believe the Chinese will walk on the moon though. Heh.

Manthong's picture

They ought to name the site “The Clinton/Loral Point”.

Bad Attitude's picture

The $15T spent on the "War on Poverty" (a.k.a. buying loyal Democrat voters) would have paid for a lot of space exploration. And, we would have had something to show for it.

Instead, that $15T has only bought us a growing dependency class who we fear will destroy everything if their SNAP cards don't get refilled.

A Nanny Moose's picture

All government funded projects merely jobs programs for the unproductive.

zerozulu's picture

Priorities have changed. Now we spend US$95,000 daily on defaming Islam and Muslims.

roadhazard's picture

Lets not forget Vietnam, Star Wars, Iraq, Afghanistan, trillion dollah PER YEAR military and black OPs all the way down to the repubican'ts $24 billion Gov. shut down loss on top of 40 House votes at $24 million each to keep the House open for that day to down vote Obama care. 

I can keep going if you want.

Anusocracy's picture

The first man on Mars will be Elon Musk in an attempt to avoid lawsuits over the Tesla cars.

macbone's picture

Macbone says: "Don't fuck with the Wongs."

Blood Spattered Banner's picture

Yes, I've heard the same.  The end of lunar missions was very abrupt. Given all of the HE3 that could possibly be mined, it's puzzling why we don't have a base there already. 

y3maxx's picture

...and a Second Chinese Probe on its way to "Uranus".

Midas's picture

Where are they going to source the drywall for the space station?

mkkby's picture

Stupid chinks.  Took only 45 years to copy cat what US got bored with.  Dumb asses still eat with wooden sticks.  Can't even figure out the fork and spoon. 

Anybody want a free vacant city with their chop suey?

Ignatius's picture

No probes Chinese or otherwise, thanks.

However, brown rings have been discovered around Uranus.

Pegasus Muse's picture

Remember Jeff Foxworthy?  You might be a Redneck if .... 


   1. You think "loading the dishwasher" means getting your wife drunk.

   2. You ever cut your grass and found a car.

   3. You own a home that is mobile and 5 cars that aren't.

   4. You think the stock market has a fence around it.

   5. Your stereo speakers used to belong to the Drive-in Theater. 



Well, you might be a Demented Paranoid Fascist Socialist Sociopath if ....


    1. You trade in your world class Space Program for a massive illegal unconstitutional evil Spy Program.  

A Nanny Moose's picture

...along with a few Klingons.

Son of Loki's picture

"If you want to keep the Moon, you can keep the moon."

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

And they promptly built 3 highways, 4 shopping malls and housing for 200,000.

666's picture

Word has it that they're gonna ship their smog to the moon in the next phase.

Jumbotron's picture

Well....we actually got HAL too.  He won on Jeopardy  You're right.......sad.

Pullmyfinger's picture

You clearly haven't read 'Hunt for the Zero Point' by Jane's Defense editor, Nick Cook. The US space program really just went "underground" :)

Bear in mind these two items: 1)NASA was chartered by, and still remains under the control of, the Defense Dept. It always was just a military operation with a public gloss; and 2) Space, to the military mind, represents the "high ground"; the military/industrial complex would never, ever have actually allowed the development of space faring technologies --particularly those of propulsion-- to cease. Rest assured, the break-away civilization of Western oligarchy is still at least forty-some years ahead of the Chinese.

Unfortunately, it seems self-defeating to feel any shared pride in such an accomplishment. Best to root for the Chinese for now.

LetThemEatRand's picture

The Chinese get a shiny rover on the moon.  We Americans get NROL-39 (the NSA rocket carrying the picture of an octopus surrounding the earth, and the slogan "nothing is beyond our reach.")

Shrapnel's picture

@Pullmyfinger - Agreed on all points. And the book 'The Hunt For Zero Point' is excellent and extremely well researched. I would highly recommend it to fellow ZH readers!

Very much like the US economy, the reality of the US space program is vastly different than what most think(and are strategically lead to believe). The technology and space capabilities of the breakaway civilization far exceed what most people can even imagine.

I'm just hoping the Chinese might be honest about at least some of what's on the moon. The US Govt and those running it would much sooner have civil war than share with us taxpayers any truth about what's really going on "off-world". This subject above all others is the reason I no longer look upon our flag the same way I once did.

Pullmyfinger's picture

Are you familiar with the articles on this site:

The author has a frequently annoying writing style, somewhat reminiscent to speech patterns of the Bowery Boys-- but if you can get past that, you may recognize that he's done some excellent investigative work. I was personally able to corroborate his findings on the "Hale Crater Civilization" by locating a second photograph in the European Space Agency archives that showed the same images, but as seen from a different perspective and time of day.

Specifically, see:

11b40's picture

Agreed, Pullmyfinger.  There is much paranoia about China among many on ZH and elsewhere, but if you get away from their cities and out into the vast countryside, you quickly learn what a big peasant class there is.  Their problems are just as vast, and their bubble is bigger than ours.  America's economy is about 14 times bigger than theirs, and we have about 1/3 the population.  We also have the resources to be self-sufficient if need be.  Without trade with America and Europe, they wither and die in the uprising that would surely come.  The Communist Party has a pretty good grip on things ... so long as they keep growing, keep greasing enough palms, and keep food inflation in check.  Otherwise, it's tits up for their system of controlled Mercantilism.

That, however, does not erase our own problems, as we drift ever closer to total Fascism.


Pullmyfinger's picture

I am in complete agreement on most counts; however, you have not been tracking developments relative to the immense flow of gold into China, draining the vaults of the LBMA and the Comex, etc. Your worldview is still largely just an extension of America's current consensus reality into the immediate future. I have considerable reasons to expect otherwise, and that an abrupt reset is pending, most likely beginning during the first half of 2014. China is getting ready for that day; we are not.

All this precedes the approach of an entirely different system of trade being set by BRICS that circumvents SWIFT and the western banking system in general, based partly on the use of Gold Certificates. True, America clearly most certainly does have the essential resources to rise again --once we've passed through the darkness.

I would recommend the last few articles of Jim Willie as one way to get you up to speed. He has a bizarre syntax and style, but pay attention. After following him since the day he set up his website, I've never known him to really be wrong.

johny2's picture

14 times bigger? 1/3 population? where are you getting your statistics?

Flatchestynerdette's picture

Its because we became the equivalent of Space Uhaul (with the shuttles) during the 80s instead of becoming Space explorers (with the shuttles to other planets by using them as airplanes).


Now NASA's mission is outreach to muslims.

Say what?!?

Telemakhos's picture

Partly this, except that the Space Airplanes To Other Planets weren't ever going to work out, because of things like physics.

For those with short memories, Charles Bolden, head of NASA, went to Egypt a few years back, where he gave an interview saying:

When I became the NASA administrator, [President Obama] charged me with three things.  One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.

Note that he never mentions space exploration.  Not once.  NASA isn't about exploration now.  We already learned that there's nothing to explore within reach, and no cost-effective way of exploring most of that.  NASA is a science education (ant-farms-in-space) motivator, a jobs program that collaborates with our friends to show them how friendly and sciency we are, and a feel-good program for everyone.  The cutting-edge development was always CIA/NRO and the black projects like the X-37b (USAF, not NASA).  Once the commercial programs take off with lower cost, private launches for the non-military stuff, NASA will have very little reason to stick around, but you'll never be able to cut it because it makes too many people feel good (yay NASA and Captain Kirk making a new utopia for humanity in the stars or something).

MeBizarro's picture

Manned-space exploration?  Yes but NASA still is launching a ton of other things that frankly return a hell of a lot more bang for the buck.  In an ideal world, I would love to see manned space exploration and a goal of a space colony by say 2050 but the money simply isn't there especially with such an uncertain payback. 

rubiconsolutions's picture

Extreme Chinese food take out.

Neil Armstrong - "I'll take the Kung Pao Chicken and Crispy Ginger Beef. Don't forget the fortune cookies"