China's moon rover soft lands on lunar surface, sends photographs

Beijing (ISJ): A day after landing on lunar surface, China's Jade Rabbit rover began sending images from the moon. China is the third country to successfully land a spacecraft on moon, after the United States and the former Soviet Union.

This was the first soft or controlled landing of a spacecraft on moon after former Soviet Union's Luna-24 landed there in 1976.

After the one-minute photographing by both the lander and moon rover, Ma Xingrui, Chief Commander of the lunar programme declared Chang'e-3 mission a success.

The 145 kg Jade Rabbit rover on board moon lander Chang'e-3 touched down on lunar surface on Saturday (Dec 14) after a two-weeklong flight.
The robotic rover controlled by the command centre from earth, will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances for three months, while the lander will conduct exploration at the landing site for one year.
The spacecraft will photograph and study the Moon's surface using four cameras and two mechanical legs for digging. The stationary lander will also conduct studies of its own.
After the successful completion of this mission, China plans to send an unmanned mission for automatic sampling and return.
Beijing, which started its lunar mission in 1998, now plans to establish a permanent space station by 2020 and send a human to the moon.
"I believe that within two or three years, we will be able to carry out very systematic and accurate research with the samples," said Ouyang Ziyuan, the project leader of Chinese Lunar Mission.
Chang'e-3 mission is the second phase of China's lunar programme, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth. It follows the success of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.
China took less than a decade to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on lunar surface, after the formal establishment of the Lunar Orbiter project in 2004. Chang?e-1 entered the lunar orbit in November 2007, while its successor Chang'e-2 entered the lower, elliptical orbit of Moon in 2010 and took photographs of the chosen landing site for Chang'e-3
Chinese Communist Party, the State Council and the Central Military Commission hailed as a "milestone" the successful soft-landing of Chang'e-3 mission.

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