China sending rover to the moon this weekend
China is set to become the third Earth nation to successfully land an object on the surface of the Moon later this weekend. The country’s space program is planning to launch its new “Jade Rabbit” (aka Yutu) rover on Sunday via its its Chang’e-3 lunar probe. If successful, this will be the first mission to the Moon’s surface since the Russians did it 37 years ago.
The six-wheeled rover will explore the moon’s Sea of Rainbows, when it lands on the surface — two weeks after its launch in mid December. Afterwards the rover will continue exploring the moon’s surface for resources. The Chinese agency also plans to set up an astronomical telescope and test connectivity between the earth and the moon, according to Chinese news site China.org.cn.
Meanwhile, Europe’s ESA said it plans to help track China’s probe and its Rabbit rover from the time it launches until the rover reaches the Moon’s surface. It will do this by using two antennas to find the the rover’s location with “extreme accuracy.”