China launches lunar probe carrying moon buggy

2013-12-01 22:27
(Wang Jianmin, Xinhua, AP)

(Wang Jianmin, Xinhua, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing - China launched its first ever extraterrestrial landing craft into orbit en route for the moon in the small hours of Monday, in a major milestone for its space programme.

The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, which includes the Yutu or Jade Rabbit buggy, blasted off on board an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China's southwestern Sichuan province at 01:30.

President Xi Jinping has said he wants China to establish itself as a space superpower, and the mission has inspired widespread pride in China's growing technological prowess. State television showed a live broadcast of the rocket lifting off.

If all goes smoothly, the rover will conduct geological surveys and search for natural resources after the probe touches down on the moon in mid-December as China's first spacecraft to make a soft landing beyond Earth.

In 2007, China launched its first moon orbiter, the Chang'e-1 - named after a lunar goddess - which took images of the surface and analysed the distribution of elements.

The lunar buggy was named the Jade Rabbit in a public vote, a folkloric reference to the goddess's pet.

Chinese scientists have discussed the possibility of sending a human to the moon some time after 2020.

In China's latest 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.

If the lunar mission is successful, China will become the third country, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to soft-land on the moon.

But it is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, whose moon landings date back more than four decades.

Beijing insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Department of Defense has made clear it wants to prevent China's increasing space capabilities giving it any strategic advantage.

China says it will share the technological achievements of its manned space programme with other nations, especially developing ones, and will offer to train astronauts from other countries.

Read more on:    china  |  space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.