The space race seems to be on yet again, and this time around it would be China who wants to make a statement. In fact, the country is all set to launch a probe to the moon this coming December 2nd, and the probe will be known as the Chang’e-3, as it takes off from Xichang. Xichang happens to be a Chinese launch center when it comes to satellites, and it has one hurdle to pass – to end up on the moon’s surface a dozen days after taking off, which would be December 14th.
The moment Chang’e-3 lands, the probe which will hold a rover within will start to make its way across the surface of the moon. Given the moniker “Yutu”, this rover is touted to be able to drive itself in an autonomous manner, but there is also the option to control it thanks to the space program in China. Just how long will it “stay” on the moon? Well, we are looking at approximately 3 months here. The European Space Agency (ESA) will be assisting in guiding the probe from Kourou, French Guiana, via a station there. According to a retired astronaut, Thomas Reiter, “We are proud that the expertise of our ground station and flight dynamics teams and the sophisticated technologies of our worldwide Estrack network can assist China to deliver a scientifically important lander and rover to the Moon.”