from Examiner Website
China today successfully soft-landed a spacecraft on the moon.
The Chang’e 3 spacecraft contained a lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, that is set to rove the lunar surface for up to six months. It was the first soft landing on the moon in four decades. The Soviet Union was the last nation to land a rover in January 1973.
Since that time, there have been several lunar orbiters launched by Japan, Europe, India and the US that have monitored the moon.
In October 2009, NASA deliberately crashed a rocket into the moon’s South polar region to check for signs of water. This happened shortly after India’s Chandrayaan-1 (Sanskrit for moon-vehicle) had successfully detected traces of water on the lunar surface in September 2009.
“Jade Rabbit”, named after a pet belonging to Chang’e, the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology, will roam the moon’s surface using a variety of sophisticated on-board surveying equipment.
The goal is to find rare minerals and elements that can justify future mining missions to the moon.
If China succeeds, then it may raise international tensions as the United Nations Moon Treaty explicitly bans nations claiming sovereignty over moon territory. All major spacefaring nations, have yet to sign the Moon Treaty despite it coming into force in 1984.
The question that might be asked is why has it taken so long for humanity to land again on the moon?
The last manned mission was Apollo 17 in 1972, and there were up to three other manned Apollo missions that had been paid for but never deployed. The Soviet Union’s January 1973 unmanned lunar rover, Lunokhod 2, in its four months of operation set the record for the most miles logged by any rover on any celestial object ever since(25 miles/42 km).
Why have there been no soft landings on the moon since 1973 until Jade Rabbit?
The answer, according to NASA and the USSR, was that the cost of further lunar landing missions outweighed the benefits. Not so according to a number of conspiracy researchers, who cite evidence that the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin radioed that they were being closely watched by aliens in large ships parked nearby.
Or perhaps Chang’e was no goddess at all, but really was an ancient moon alien partial to Chinese culture, whose descendants will not interfere in China’s plans to mine the moon’s precious elements.