A CHINESE space rover became the first last Friday to visit the far side of the moon.

Jade Rabbit 2 drove off a ramp the previous night and onto the soft, snow-like surface after a Chinese spacecraft made the  first-ever  soft landing on the moon's far-side.

A photo posted online by China's space agency showed tracks left by the rover as it headed away from the spacecraft.

''It's a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation,'' Lunar Exploration Project Chief Designer Wu Weiren informed media in a twist of United States astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous comment when he became the first human to walk on the moon in 1969.

''This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe.''

Previous moon landings, including America's six manned missions from 1969 to 1972, have been on the near side of the moon, which faces earth. The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

China's space community is taking pride in the successful landing, which posed technical challenges because the moon blocks direct communication between the spacecraft and its controllers on Earth.

China has been trying to catch up with the US and other nations in space exploration.

''The landing on the far-side shows China's technology is powerful,''  East China University of  Science & Law Space Expert He Qisong said.

While China's  space programme still lags America's, he said, ''China has already positioned itself at least as good as Russia and the European Union.''

The news cheered people on the streets of Beijing, many of whom said it showed that China can now achieve or even surpass what the US has done.

''I think this is a very good evidence that we are now able to compete with the Americans,'' said energy company employee Yao Dajun.

''You can get on the moon and so can we. I think this is very good. It means our science and technology ability is getting stronger and the country is becoming more powerful.'' [Courtesy Yahoo News]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!