Feeds

China's first MOON rover slated for 2013 launch

Roving robot will be part of third Chang'e mission

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

China's space boffins have hatched a plan to send their very first rover vehicle to the Moon in 2013, according to reports.

Shanghai Daily revealed that the country’s third Chang’e mission will deploy an orbiting vehicle with landing gear, allowing it to touch down on the lunar surface.

Ye Peijian, chief commander of Chang'e-3 at the China Academy of Space Technology, told the news outlet that the 100kg lunar rover is designed to last for three months and will include a navigation system to ensure it can avoid large craters as well as a telecommunications system for remote control.

Extendable solar panels will soak up the sunlight during the day and insulate the machine from the intense cold of the lunar night during which temperatures can dip below -150°C.

"It will be the most difficult part of the mission as the rover must avoid dropping into big holes on the Moon and climb over some small pits and rocks," Ye told reporters.

"The probe will take more scientific equipment than its predecessors mainly to detect, collect and analyse samples on the Moon.”

Boffins have earmarked five potential landing sites, with the Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, being their first choice. The Chinese launched their first lunar orbiter, Chang'e-1, back in 2007, followed by the Chang'e-2 in 2010 with a mission to map the Moon and collect data.

The People’s Republic is also developing a new heavy-thrust carrier rocket that could propel its first manned mission to the Moon, so the Chang’e-3 mission is very much another reminder that in space, just like back home, there’s a new superpower in town.

It's still got some way to go to compete with the US, however, which has been exploring Mars for at least nine years. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.