The China moon landing: Who’s next?

China’s always trying to prove a point, in one way or another indeed making sure it rides with the big dogs like the USA and Russia who have already attempted successful moon landings, China becomes the third country to ground its spacecraft on the moon.. The country’s Chang’e-3 unmanned spacecraft, launched two weeks ago, landed on the moon yesterday, the first craft to “soft-land” on lunar soil in more than 30 years.

Third country to land’s spacecraft on the Moon

The Chang’e-3 probe, named after the lunar goddess said in Chinese folklore to live on the moon, is carrying the Yutu — or Jade Rabbit, the goddess’ companion — lunar rover, a six-wheeled, solar-powered buggy armed with four cameras and two mechanical arms designed to dig for sample soil on the Moon’s surface. The Chinese official news service official Xinhua, says the pair now rests on the Moon’s unexplored Bay of Rainbows region, which China has been eyeing as a potential landing site since 2010. The Yutu rover will now spend the next three months searching for resources, as its progress is monitored by Chinese control centers assisted by the European Space Agency.

A soft landing, or landing without any damage to the craft or its equipment, is no easy task. In fact, as China’s lunar program’s chief designer Wu Weiren told Xinhua, it’s the most difficult part of the mission. Now that China has gone to the moon, whose next?