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China's "Jade Rabbit" separates from lander

English.news.cn   2013-12-15 06:27:04            

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)

BEIJING, Dec. 15 (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 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.

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

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

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.

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Backgrounder: Timeline of China's lunar program

Special Report: China's lunar explorations

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BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The moon Saturday saw a rare new visitor -- lunar probe Chang'e-3 from China, the third country on earth which achieved a soft landing on it after theUnited Statesand the former Soviet Union.

The success also made China the first country that conducted a soft landing on Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, a lunar area that remains unstudied and silent for hundreds of millions of years, stamping new foot prints in the history of mankind's lunar exploration. Full story

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China has long been pushing for international cooperation in manned space program under the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, as well as of transparency and opening, said Deng Yibing, director of China Astronaut Research and Training Center.Full story

Editor: Hou Qiang
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