China’s Jade Rabbit Moon Rover may have touched hearts around the world…now the Americans are taking the next step in the space game. The USA’s MAVEN robotic probe may not have the personality that made Jade Rabbit so popular, but its mission is no less important. The probe completed final braking on Sunday to slide into its orbit around the red planet. The plan is for MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution probe) to examine the planet’s upper atmosphere in order to help us understand how the solar wind has been stripping away atoms and molecules for ages.
MAVEN looks to turn back the clock and give us a glimpse into the deep history of our nearest neighbor. Perhaps helping us see what it used to look like and where all its water went…
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So the latest out of Chinese state media is that the Jade Rabbit rover which landed on the moon five months ago is still hanging on—barely. The rover captured hearts and minds over the past few months as it struggled to survive the cold lunar nights, died, and then was miraculously re-born. And now, its wheels no longer turn and the solar panels that protect it from the cold have failed. But still it fights on…
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Jade Rabbit’s back! China’s plucky moon rover, Jade Rabbit, who landed on the lunar surface in December, then captured the hearts of the world when it announced its own malfunction and imminent demise, has risen from the dead.
The Rover, speaking on the Chinese social media site Weibo , told the world of it’s coming death and signed-off with a final, “Goodnight Earth. Goodnight Humanity.” And tens of thousands took to the internet to send their condolences.
Now, three weeks later, the rover is back! He’s up and running and only a little worse for wear. And the world is thrilled again.
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The warm-ups and tests are done and China’s Yutu moon rover is set to strike out on an epic voyage across the lunar landscape. Expected to last three months, the rover’s journey is supposed to survey the geology of the moon to locate natural resources that Chinese astronauts could use in the future—maybe as soon as ten years from now!
Astronauts! On the moon, again?
Bring on the future
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For the first time since 1976 we’ve landed an unmanned probe on the surface of the moon. The Chinese craft landed today, accompanied by a remotely piloted buggy for exploring the region around the Bay of Rainbows.
This makes China only the third country (along with the US and Russia) to land something on the moon—and the only country currently doing the business. the latest moonshot is part of China’s massive push into space, which includes orbiters, space stations and moon exploration.
After the closing of the Apollo program and the death of the shuttles—I say, well done, China. We belong out there.
Check out the article here: http://www.torontosun.com/2013/12/14/chinese-spacecraft-lands-on-moon
The asteroid that likely wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was big enough that its impact sent fragments flying into space—some as far as Mars and even Jupiter’s moon, Europa. And scientists believe that those fragments were large enough to carry life—at least of the microscopic variety.
Enough big chunks were thrown from the Earth that astrobiologist Prof Jay Melosh, of Purdue University even says, “I sometimes joke that we might find ammonite shells on the Moon from that event.”
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