China has constructed a rover that it will be sending to the moon on Sunday, December 1st at 17:30 GMT. The rover has been named Yutu or Jade Rabbit. This name is based upon Chinese folklore in which the moon goddess has a pet rabbit.
China is all set to be the third nation, after the United States and Russia, to land a rover on the moon. Over 190,000 proposals regarding the name of the lunar vehicle were received. Finally, Yutu or Jade Rabbit was selected. The name suits the mission.
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"Yutu is a symbol of kindness, purity and agility, and is identical to the moon rover in both outlook and connotation. Yutu also reflects China's peaceful use of space," said Li Benzheng, deputy commander-in-chief of China's lunar program. China will send the rabbit rover to the moon on Sunday, December 1st at 17:30 GMT. The lunar rover will be travelling aboard a lunar probe called the Chang’e-3.
Chang’e was the name of a goddess in Chinese folk legend who inadvertently took a pill that granted her eternal life. She flew away to the moon with a rabbit as a pet companion. The name Yutu satisfies the demands of diplomacy too. A sign of benevolence, pristine qualities and flexibility, Yutu suits the Chinese space mission since it is peaceful in nature.
While Chang’e-1 and Chang’e-2 only orbited the moon, Chang’e-3 will be making a soft landing. The space probe and lunar module will make it to the moon’s surface by mid-December. The region of the moon where the Chinese space mission will land is the Sea of Rainbows.
The six-wheeled, two-winged rover will then remain there for three months in order to carry out various crucial experiments. The materials it is composed of will be able to withstand the extreme temperatures on the moon. China wants to not only send astronauts to the moon, but also build a space station. However, it insists that its space program is for peaceful purposes only.
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Source: The Verge