China to send Jade Rabbit to the moon, reveals plans for first space station – an annotated graphic

Moon, your lonely days are over. It’s been 37 years since anything landed on our tidal companion’s surface, but on December 1st China will launch Chang’e-3, a six-wheeled rover which will ultimately spend three months roving around the surface of the moon, scanning the lunar surface to depths of 100m.

Nicknamed Yutu, or Jade Rabbit – after the mythological pet of lunar goddess Chang’e, no less – the rover is due to land in a plain of basaltic lava at a more northerly point than previous US or USSR lunar landings, thus exploring lesser-known areas of the moon.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Jade Rabbit moon probe
Jade Rabbit moon probe

As if sending sweetly named probes to the moon wasn’t enough, China is also planning the launch of its very own space station. The Chinese space agency’s intention is to develop and launch a manned space station, with room for six crew, by 2023.

It will be smaller than the International Space Station (ISS), but bigger than Russia’s Mir, with room for international modules to dock. Handy that, seeing as the ISS is due to go out of operation either a few years before or a few years after the Chinese station is launched.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

China plans a space station
China plans a space station
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s