China Soft Lands on Moon…Joins Elite Club with U.S. and Russia

Chang'e 3 lander

Rendering of the Chang’e 3 lander and rover, credited to the Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering

China news agency’s have reported that they have successfully landed the “Yutu” (Jade Rabbit).rover on the surface of the Moon. The craft was launched aboard the Long March-3B carrier rocket, which blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 1:30 a.m. December 1, 2013. .Chang’e 3 probe consists of two parts: the lunar lander and Yutu rover.

After landing Chang’e 3 deployed the solar arrays, which were folded for the decent. The lander is now expected to deploy the  Yutu rover, which will use it’s instruments to analyze the Moons surface for several months.

Read: China Launches Rover to the Moon 

In addition to analyzing the moon’s geological structure and surface, the rover will also deploy a telescope on the moon first time in human history, observe the plasmasphere over the Earth and survey the moon surface through radar. This us the first soft landing on the moon since 1976 when the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 sample-return mission landed there.