China launches lunar probe with Jade Rabbit

Beijing, Dec. 2 : China has successfully launched the Chang'e-3 lunar probe with its first ever moon rover (Jade Rabbit) on Monday.

The enhanced Long March-3B rocket, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China and is expected to land on the moon in mid-December.

The attempt will mark China's first spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body, ChinaDaily reports.

According to the report, Chang'e-3 is also the first moon lander launched in the 21st century and so far only the US and the former Soviet Union have soft landed on the moon.

The lunar program's chief designer, Wu Weiren said that the probe's soft-landing is the most difficult task during the mission, and it will be a breakthrough for China to realize zero-distance observation and survey on the moon.

The moon rover would survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances, while looking for natural resources.

The report said that for the first time in human history, a telescope will also be set up on the moon to observe the plasmasphere over the Earth and survey the moon surface through radar.

Deputy engineer-in-chief in charge of the second phase of China's lunar program, Sun Huixian said that if the probe is successful, the Chang'e-3 mission will mean China has the ability of in-situ exploration on an extraterrestrial body, the report added.

--ANI (Posted on 02-12-2013)

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