Jan 2, 2019

China lunar rover successfully touches down on far side of the moon, state media announces

Posted by in category: space

China has become the first nation in history to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, state media announced on Thursday.

Thursday’s official televised announcement that the probe had landed came approximately an hour after state media outlets China Daily and China Global Television Network (CGTN) deleted posts on social media proclaiming the mission a success, sparking widespread confusion as to whether the probe had in fact had made touchdown.

No explanation was given as to why the earlier tweets were deleted. On social media, observers speculated as to the cause of the apparent backtracking, with many wondering if the mission had experienced a temporary upset, or whether it was a simple case of state media jumping the gun ahead of the official announcement.

China’s last lunar rover — named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit — ceased operation in August 2016 after 972 days of service on the moon’s surface as part of the Chang’e 3 mission. China was only the third nation to carry out a lunar landing, after the United States and Russia.

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