The China National Space Administration successfully launched a rocket to the Moon yesterday. The Long March-3B rocket blasted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province carrying the Chang’e-3 lunar probe and its lunar rover for unmanned exploration of the Moon’s surface. It also carries a heavy symbolic load, explains Elizabeth Barber:
“This morning’s mission has, like most Chinese missions to space, been heavily tapestried in tropes that stitch together the patriotic and the mythical. The lander and its rover are named after a Chinese myth in which a woman, Chang’e, swallows magic pills that transport her and her pet rabbit, ‘Yu Tu’ (Jade Rabbit), to the moon. There she remains, white rabbit at her side, as goddess of the moon. Xinhua [news service] called the mission ‘a modern scientific version’ of the myth.”
– ”In one big step for China, ‘Jade Rabbit’ heads to the moon,” Elizabeth Barber, Christian Science Monitor
And where will the new Jade Rabbit roam? The Bay of Rainbows, naturally.
“China’s Maiden Moon Rover Mission Chang’e 3 Achieves Lunar Orbit,” Ken Kreme, Universe Today
Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hVg
Image (“Lunar Mission, after Cui Bai”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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