Yutu is on the Surface of the Moon and Playing Around

Last time, I left you with the Chang’e 3 lander on the surface of the Moon and we were expecting the deployment of the rover on the surface of the Moon. It has been 24 hours since the last update.

Since the Chinese refuse to let us know in plain English what they plan to do, I decided to look for an update after they have completed everything. Twitter has been quite efficient at delivering in a time bound manner some of the awesome highlights of the mission. A blog post, I think is a more reflective affair and needs more time.

Around now, while India’s Mars Orbiter spacecraft is 10 times the distance from the Moon, China’s rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit) has been deployed on the lunar surface. Also, the rover and the lander have taken pictures of each other.

There is this very cool video of the landing of the Chang’e 3. Emily Lakdawalla on the Planetary Society blog [Disclosure: I am a member of the Society] has animated gifs of the rover getting off the lander and colour photos that the lander and rover took off each other. Her posts also links to several other resources and people talking of the landing. Nasaspaceflight.com seems particularly active with people trying to figure out and put together this landing story for the English audience. Stephen Clark at SpaceFlight Now has a more general update.

Indian media has been covering the story for the angle of peaceful exploration of the Moon. Articles don’t seem to have conveyed the excitement that has gone with this landing owing to the rate at which China has posted videos and pictures on this mission. Which is sad. Interestingly also, very few people have raised comparison with India’s Chandrayaan-II and if India lost in this race (despite both countries refusing the fact that they are in a race, it makes writing about these things more fun, when healthy competition exists). India’s lunar landing is now targeted at 2016-17.

Now, let’s wait for the science from the Chang’e 3.

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