Now becoming the third nation to “soft-land” a spacecraft on the moon, China’s Chang’e 3 – (the first visitor from earth for over 35 years) – touched down safely on the surface today carrying with it “Jade Rabbit”, a small lunar rover that will soon begin exploration of the lunar surface.
“Jade Rabbit” is named for a pet belonging to “Chang’e” the goddess of the moon in Chinese legend. It is expected to transmit information back to earth for several months
This is a gigantic leap forward for China’s space exploration program, and a huge source of national pride.
Meanwhile, Indian scientists are racing to put together a cut-price Mars mission in just 15 months. The Indian Mars probe, dubbed “Mangalyaan,” successfully left earth orbit two weeks ago, in a critical maneuver that put it on course to reach the Red Planet next September.
Iran recently launched and safely returned to Earth its “second” live monkey, while not quite as flashy as “Jade Rabbit” – a significant step forward none the less.
I’ve been “muttering on” about this for some time now, and studying it for much longer as “future advances in space” trump my interests in financial markets. In particular I’ve been anxiously awaiting advances out of China, assuming long ago that when indeed they did finally get their “ducks in a line” – look out! As I’ve been expecting some incredible things.
These are very exciting times we live in, and with technology moving so quickly I’m extremely confident we’ll have our “minds’ blown” more than a couple of times in the not so distant future.
Let’s hope these “rovers” can manage to stay out of each others way, as we’d hate to see an “international traffic accident”.
Fun stuff on a lazy weekend.