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Six wheels on soil for Yutu!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/14 03:28 CST | 9 comments

Here it is! Animated gifs, composed of screen grabs from Chinese state television, of the Yutu rover rolling on to the lunar surface. This was a replay, but it was no less thrilling for that; the actual rollout happened at 20:40 UT (12:40 PT). Six wheels on soil! Woohoo!

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Chang'e 3 has successfully landed on the Moon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/14 08:28 CST | 2 comments

Transmitting images all the way down, China's Chang'e 3 lander successfully arrived on the lunar surface at 13:11:18 -- half an hour before the scheduled landing time. Rover deploy is set for a few hours later.

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Chang'e 3 landing tomorrow 13:40 UT, earlier than previously reported

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/13 11:20 CST | 1 comment

According to numerous Chinese news reports, Chang'e 3's landing on the Moon is now scheduled to begin at 21:40 Beijing time on December 14, which is 13:40 UT or 05:40 PT. That's about two hours earlier than previously stated.

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Quick Chang'e 3 and Mars Orbiter Mission updates

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/11 11:01 CST | 6 comments

Yesterday Chang'e 3 lowered its orbit periapsis to a mere 15 kilometers, and Mars Orbiter Mission successfully performed a trajectory correction maneuver.

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Chang'e 3 has arrived in lunar orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/06 09:53 CST | 13 comments

Just a quick update: Chang'e 3 successfully entered lunar orbit today at 09:53 UTC, after a 361-second lunar orbit insertion burn.

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Chang'e 3 and LADEE updates -- and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, too, for good measure

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/05 08:40 CST

Chang'e 3 is just about to land on the Moon, and the LADEE orbiter has begun a new science mission there, while Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is still producing amazing images.

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Somewhere Over the Bay of Rainbows

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/12/02 12:35 CST | 4 comments

Pay a visit to the Chang'e 3 lunar landing site.

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Chang'e 3 departs for the Moon, with amazing images and video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 12:18 CST | 3 comments

On December 1 at 17:30 UTC, Chang'e 3 launched atop a Long March 3B rocket on a direct lunar transfer trajectory. It is scheduled to enter orbit December 6 and land December 14. The rocket was equipped with cameras that recorded thrilling video of the launch and final departure of the probe.

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Chang'e 3 ready to launch to the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 10:05 CST | 5 comments

A brief update on Chang'e 3, which is scheduled for launch December 2 at 01:30 China time, or December 1 at 17:30 UT / 09:30 PT.

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Chang'e 3 may launch December 1 with Yutu rover, will not harm LADEE mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/27 12:20 CST | 8 comments

Yesterday the Chinese space agency held a press briefing about the Chang'e 3 lunar lander. They announced that the rover has been named Yutu (or "Jade Rabbit," a legendary companion of the goddess Chang'e). Although it will land during the LADEE mission, it will not harm LADEE's goals -- quite the opposite, in fact.

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Imaging results from the Chang'e 2 Toutatis flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/21 01:23 CST | 3 comments

There is a paper in press at Icarus by Xiaoduan Zou and five coauthors that provides the first peer-reviewed publication I've seen on the results of the imaging experiment performed during the Chang'e 2 flyby of near-Earth asteroid (4179) Toutatis.

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Space fan produces animated trailer for Chang'e 3 mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/01 04:11 CDT | 3 comments

This animation is cool! It's not an official outreach product, just the hard work of a space enthusiast excited about the upcoming launch of Chang'e 3.

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Chang'e 3 update: Rocket shipped to launch site; ten possible rover names announced

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/28 12:45 CDT | 5 comments

China's Chang'e 3 lunar soft lander and rover are proceeding toward a planned December launch. The Long March-3B rocket departed Beijing for the Xichang launch facility yesterday, and is expected to arrive November 1. Meanwhile, 190,000 contest entries have been winnowed to a list of ten possible names for the rover.

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Chang'e 3 proceeding toward December 1 launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/28 11:02 CDT | 2 comments

News agencies are reporting that China's soft lunar lander and rover, Chang'e 3, has passed its final critical reviews and is now proceeding toward launch.

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Chang'e 3 undergoing thermal vacuum testing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/09 10:48 CDT | 5 comments

China's lunar lander and rover are undergoing some of their last major tests and so are nearly ready for launch.

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More Chang'E 2 Toutatis flyby images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/20 09:52 CST | 6 comments

Last week at a meeting of NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), Han Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave a lengthy presentation on Chang'E 2. Her presentation included a new sequence of photos from the December 13 Toutatis flyby.

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The Chang'e 3 lunar lander and rover, expected to launch late this year

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/09 03:46 CST | 8 comments

All of the information I could track down on China's planned Chang'e 3 lunar lander and rover, including videos and a brand-new artist's concept of the rover rolling across the Moon.

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Looking ahead to spacecraft activities in 2013

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/04 01:09 CST | 3 comments

2013 is going to be a busy year in space exploration. Two missions launch to the Moon (LADEE and Chang'E 3), and another two to Mars (MAVEN and India's mission). Curiosity should drive to the Mountain, and Opportunity to the next site on Endeavour's rim. Cassini will be seeing rings and Titan. Others should continue routine operations, except maybe MESSENGER, whose fate after March is not yet decided.

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My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/18 04:26 CST | 9 comments

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

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Chang'E 2 imaging of Toutatis succeeded beyond my expectations!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/14 05:59 CST | 19 comments

The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.

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