China is blasting its first lunar rover into space, Sunday, December 1st, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on China time - Dec. 2.
So what exactly are they looking for? Space.com said it was just to hit a milestone launch, adding to their space exploration program, with plans to set up their first permanent space station targeted for 2020. It is also allowing them the honor of eventually sending a man to the moon.
"Apart from launching astronauts into space, this is probably the most complex space mission attempted by China," Australian space analyst Morris Jones told AFP. "It will also make China only the third nation to soft-land a spacecraft on the moon." The others, obviously the U.S.A. and Russia.
It's their way of making the world aware of their rising financial status. Yes, the communist nation who is now showing its brass is coming from a country formerly known as a poverty-stricken nation.
They have previously sent two probes up to orbit the moon, with one commanded to crash on the lunar surface when the mission was complete.
The six-wheeled rover was put on display in November in Beijing for public viewing. This is a rare occurrence for secretive China and its space program.
The rover's designer, Shanghai Aerospace Systems Engineering Research Institute, claims several technological breakthroughs with the vehicle. They include its "autonomous" navigation system that includes wheels which are able to grip the powdery surface of the moon.
It can also climb better and travel faster, with speeds up to 200 meters (yards) per hour, according to the institute.
So far, China has sent a total of 10 astronauts into space on five separate space missions. They have also launched an orbiting space module named the Tiangong-1.
China, however, is still far behind the achievements of the USA and Russia. Both countries from which they have learned quite a bit.
Image via YouTube