Chinese probe touches down on lunar surface, sends back photos 3

Chinese probe touches down on lunar surface, sends back photos
JISHOU, HUNAN — The Chang’E 3 lunar lander successfully touched down on the Moon earlier today, becoming another feather in China’s space exploration cap. After a short radio blackout, it sent back photos of its approach. Chang’E, named after the Chinese moon goddess 嫦娥, carries a six-wheeled rover, Jade Rabbit (yu tu 玉兔), also a figure in Chinese mythology. The rover, which resembles the NASA rovers exploring Mars, will deploy in a few hours to begin a three-month mission. China is only the third nation to soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon, following the former Soviet Union and the USA. The lunar project follows China’s successful low-earth orbit manned missions, and is a probable prelude to a manned mission to Earth’s nearest neighbor in the next few decades. The probe has landed far north of landing sites by the Soviet Luna 9 and 16 probes, landing in 1966 and 1970, respectively, and the Apollo 11 landing in 1969. India and Japan have also sent missions to the Moon, but have not had soft landings. The last soft landing was by the Soviet Luna 24 probe, in 1976. More details are available at Space.com.

Photographic proof we were there

JISHOU, HUNAN — NASA has released new photos taken from lunar orbit of the Apollo landing sites, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is mapping the Moon’s surface in preparation for later missions to the satellite. So far, it has imaged five of the six Apollo landing sites. One image clearly shows the path taken by the Apollo 14 astronauts between the Lunar Module and a package of scientific instruments they deposited about 150 meters away. Despite the disbelief of a small, but vocal denialist movement, men (so far, just men) have walked on the Moon. Moon-landing doubters claim the entire Apollo program was a sham, and that videos and photos of the astronauts on the lunar surface were Hollywood-style simulations. Well, rocks don’t roll around the lunar surface by themselves, so those footpaths were either put there by shuffling astronauts or by some lunar creature. The simplest explanation (Occam’s Razor) suggests the astronauts did it. Not that it will stop the True Disbelievers™ from claiming these latest photos are doctored. **** Incidentally, the Moon will have a starring role next Wednesday here in China as it blocks ...
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