In 2013, China became the third country to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the moon when the Chang'e-3 mission achieved a soft landing on the lunar surface. The unmanned spacecraft was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on December 1, 2013, and arrived on the moon’s surface two weeks later.
This historic mission was the first of its kind in 37 years, since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976. This mission was a major milestone for China’s space exploration program, which had been active since the 1970s.
The Chang'e-3 mission included two components: the lunar lander, named "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit), and the lunar rover, named "Yutu-2". The lander and rover were designed to explore the lunar surface and send back data and images to the ground station.
The mission was the first in history to use a combination of liquid and solid propellants to achieve a soft-landing on the moon. The use of both propellants allowed the spacecraft to slow down sufficiently to achieve a soft-landing, which is much safer and less disruptive than a hard-landing.
The mission also made use of a variety of technologies, such as 3-D imaging, laser-guided navigation, and autonomous navigation. The spacecraft was equipped with two high-resolution cameras that provided images of the landing site.
Once the spacecraft had safely landed, the rover and lander were deployed to the lunar surface. The rover was designed to explore an area of 3 km2 around the landing site, while the lander was designed to study the composition of the lunar surface.
The mission was a complete success. The rover, Yutu-2, operated for about three months, sending back data and images to the ground station. The lander, Yutu, operated for about nine months before going into hibernation.
This mission was a major milestone for China’s space exploration program and has set the stage for future missions. China is now planning a sample return mission, which would be the first of its kind since 1976.
The success of this mission is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and expertise of the Chinese scientists involved in the mission. It is also a reminder of the potential of the human race to explore and learn about the universe around us.