China’s Chang’e-3 craft lands on the moon

The Chang’e-3 lunar lander and Yutu rover landed in the moon's Mare Imbrium feature, not far from the intended landing spot in Sinus Iridum.

Arizona State University/GSFC/NASA

The unmanned Chang’e-3 lunar lander and Yutu rover have made it to the surface of the moon.

The successful December 14 touchdown makes China the third country to put a craft on the moon and the first to do so since 1976.

Chang’e-3 landed in the northern part of the Sea of Rains, or Mare Imbrium, slightly east of its planned touchdown spot in the Bay of Rainbows, or Sinus Iridum.

A little more than seven hours after landing, the lander’s rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, rolled onto the moon’s surface. The rover will study the moon’s minerals and also carries telescopes and cameras to observe astronomical objects farther out in space.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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