On landing, Chang'e-3 will release Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) -- a six-wheeled lunar rover equipped with at least four cameras and two mechanical legs that can dig up soil samples to a depth of 30 meters.
Search for scientific knowledge, hell! Where's that Helium-3???!!!
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Jade Rabbit has a pretty cool tool onboard... ground-penetrating radar. As it moves around, it's "seeing" deep underground as well, part of the search for minerals and whatever other resources they can exploit on their future visits.... and make no mistake, the Chinese are definitely intending to set up a base and do what the USA is no longer capable of doing.
Chinese TV released video of the Chang'e lander arriving at the moon, and the deployment of the rover. Pretty cool:
Part of the reason for the lunar silence is because Yutu (Chinese for “jade rabbit”) and the Chang’e-3 lander have been hibernating for the past two weeks, which is the equivalent of one lunar night. The vehicles powered down during this time to conserve energy during the frigid (we’re talking -180 Celsius or so — eat your heart out, polar vortex) and sunless lunar night. Both Yutu and Chang’e-3 were automatically awakened via solar power, now that there’s sunlight, and they’re resuming their pre-programmed operations.
The Yutu rover will spend three months exploring the Bay of Rainbows, lava plains on the moon’s surface. It will also leave a telescope there for some serious star-gazing. The Chinese National Space Administration will share all the information it gleans from this mission. In fact, the new chief of China’s space agency has announced a willingness to cooperate and share information and technology with “all the countries in the world,” and wants to figure out a way to work with NASA despite a 2011 law prohibiting the use of NASA funds to work with China.