Moon landing a big step for China
By The Los Angeles Times
Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
BEIJING — China landed an unmanned exploration vehicle on the moon on Saturday, becoming the third country to do so.
After days in orbit around the moon, the lunar probe known as Chang'e-3 touched down on the surface in the Bay of Rainbows shortly after 9 p.m. Beijing time, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center reported. The landing appeared to be timed to maximize coverage on Chinese state television, which interrupted regular programing.
The landing craft carried a gold-hued unmanned exploration vehicle, named the Jade Rabbit after the story of a mythological Chinese moon goddess who kept a pet rabbit. The rover is expected to spend three months exploring the moon's “geological structure and surface substances and looking for natural resources,” the Xinhua news service said.
“This is a very significant step for their space program,” said Gregory Kulacki, who studies China's efforts in space for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It's a prospecting mission, their first real chance to test whether there are mineral resources on the moon.”
It marked the first time any country has accomplished a soft landing on the moon since the Soviet Union in 1976. After the space race between the United States and Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s, lunar research has been largely eclipsed by exploration of more distant planets.
Chang'e-3 made its lunar landing on the 41st anniversary of the end of the manned missions to the moon. Apollo 17 lifted off the moon at 10:54:37 p.m. Dec. 14, 1972.
The Chinese government says its moon exploration is purely scientific, and it hopes eventually to land a man on the moon, perhaps in 10 or 15 years. Iran, which is interested in manned space flight, said it successfully sent a monkey into space for a second time, part of an ambitious program.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Teen’s death revives Turkish street demonstrations
- Malaysian military says missing jet changed course
- Ukraine control of bases erodes
- Van der Sloot to be extradited to U.S. in 2038
- Investigation into missing Malaysia flight centers on 2 men who boarded with stolen passports
- Ukraine control of bases erodes
- Ukraine’s Crimea seeks to become independent state