Chang’e 3 Successfully Lands on the Moon!

This is China’s first landing on another world, the first lunar soft-landing since Luna 24 in 1976, the third nation to intentionally and successfully soft-land on a celestial body, and the third to even attempt a landing on the Moon.  This marks a major step forward for China, and for the spaceflight aspirations of the entire human race.

yutu

Yutu rover, seen from the Chang’e 3 lander just after deployment

At 1311 GMT (21:11 Beijing time) on December 14, the spacecraft touched down in Sinus Iridium, the Bay of Rainbows, an ancient impact crater adjacent to Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains.  After landing, it successfully deployed its solar arrays, and a few hours later, the Yutu lander trundled down its ramp.  Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit”, is named for the pet of the mythical moon goddess Chang’e.

CCTV broadcast of the landing:

And the rover deploy!

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