Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro(nautical)-image of the day: China goes to the Moon

Yesterday, China successfully launched their first Moon probe, the Chang'e One lunar orbiter, aboard a Long March 3A booster rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province of southwest China. Here it is in various stages of preparation and launch:

Click the images to see the story.

The probe is planned to orbit the moon for at least one year, mapping and studying its surface for a future Moon rover-return mission planned for launch in 2012. Chang'e One uses advanced cameras and x-ray spectrometers to and analyze the Moon's surface and make 3-D images. Here's Chang'e One in orbit around the Moon:

Click the image to see the story.

Chang'e One is named for a Chinese goddess who flew to the Moon. Here she is:

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Here's the planned rover:

Click the image to see the story.

All of this is preparation for China's manned lunar landing in 15 years.

Tags: astronomy, the space age

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