Posts Tagged ‘CNSA’

Jade Rabbit on the Dark Side of the Moon

January 3, 2019

Jade Rabbit on the Dark Side of the Moon

The landing and rover phases of China’s Chang’e-4 unmanned spacecraft have landed on the dark side of the moon, in a crater named for a Hungarian-American JPL director. The Queqiao radio relay satellite orbiting above the moon enables the space robots on the moon’s far side to communicate with mission control in China. The mission’s rover, exploring the surface of the moon’s far side, is called Yutu-2, “Jade Rabbit.”

In Chinese myth, Chang’e is the Moon Goddess, and the Jade Rabbit (Yu Tu) is her pet. The China National Space Administration plans to land non-mythical personalities – astronauts – on the Moon by 2020, and set up a moon base in 2030.


“Chang’e-4: China space mission lands on Moon’s far side,” BBC News

“Chang’e 4 landing: China probe makes historic touchdown on far side of the moon,” Kate Lyons, The Guardian

“‘New Chapter’ in Space Exploration as China Reaches Far Side of the Moon,” Steven Lee Myers and Zoe Mou, New York Times

“China’s lunar probe sends first photo of dark side of the moon after historic soft landing,” Catherine Wong, South China Morning Post

“China just made history by landing on the far side of the Moon,” Echo Huang, Quartz

“China lunar probe sheds light on the ‘dark’ side of the moon,” Ken Moritsugu, Associated Press

“China just landed on the far side of the moon: What comes next?” Michael Greshko, National Geographic


Jade Rabbit Hash?

January 28, 2014

Jade Rabbit Hash?

The mechanical controls of China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover got fried, and the poor little thing probably froze to death during the Moon’s cold night. Think your “Polar Vortex” is cold? Overnight lows on the Moon can go down to -180C (-292F).

The Jade Rabbit (Yutu in Chinese) is named for the mythical pet bunny companion of the Moon Goddess Chang’e, for whom the mission’s lunar lander is named. During its final moments Yutu bade a touching if long-winded farewell, reported by the Xinhua news service.  Excerpts:


‘Jade Rabbit’ Hops on the Moon

December 14, 2013

'Jade Rabbit' Hops on the Moon

China has landed a lunar probe on the Moon, the first lunar soft landing since 1976. The Chang’e-3 lunar probe’s robot rover is called the Jade Rabbit, and it will explore the Bay of Rainbows. In Chinese myth, Chang’e is the Moon Goddess, and the Jade Rabbit (Yu Tu) is her pet. The China National Space Administration plans to land non-mythical personalities on the Moon by 2020 and set up a moon base in 2030.


China Explores the Moon

December 3, 2013

China Explores the Moon

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


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Image (“Lunar Mission, after Cui Bai”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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