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China's Lunar Rover Rolls Onto Moon Surface

posted 14 Dec 2013, 17:12 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 14 Dec 2013, 17:13 ]

China - Chang'e-3/Rover Separation

China Central Television (CCTV) - China's first moon rover, Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, separated from its lander early on Sunday morning, just hours after the Chang'e-3 probe soft-landed on the lunar surface.

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The six-wheeled rover has now touched the lunar surface, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

Chang'e-3 landed on the Moon's Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, at 21:11 Saturday evening, making China the third country after the United States andformer Soviet Union to carry out such a mission.

The command center gave the order to unlock the rover from the lander shortly after the landing.

Yutu then utilized the cameras installed on its masts to collect data and prepare for its own touchdown on the Moon's surface. While charging itself with solar panels, it carried out imaging analysis of the area it is to be released onto in order to analyze any obstacles on the Moon's surface.

It moved slowly onto a transfer device before being lowered onto the surface after it had fully charged.

The whole process, from detachment to touchdown, took about eight hours and the rover rolled onto the Moon's surface at about 04:35 Sunday morning.

The lunar rover's navigation system consists of three cameras: a panoramic camera to decide the direction, a navigation camera to analyze the topographical characteristics of the land and design a route, and an obstacle avoidance camera to ensure stability during movement.

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