China’s state media reports today that the country will send its first ever rover to the moon this December. The government had said a number of times in the past that the launch will take place at the end of this year, as of now the launch appears to be on track. Called the Chang’e-3, it is said that planning and construction of the rover has already been completed and the mission has entered into “launch implementation phase.” This will be China’s first ever unmanned probe landing on the moon. It has previously launched the Chang’e-1 and Chang’e-2 unmanned probes into the orbit around the moon.
The rover will reportedly use an unspecified technique to slow down its speed as it prepares to land on the moon’s surface. It will be launched atop an enhanced variant of China’s CZ-3B launch vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Chang’e-3 has a designed life of 90 lunar days and will be capable of exploring an area of 3 square kilometers. Maximum travelling distance it can cover is 10 kilometers. It has a various types of cameras and radars on board and will be able to autonomously navigate the moon’s surface. Data and image will be transmitted back to Earth in real-time. [image via Dragoninspace]