Bad Astronomy

Chang’e 1 impacts the Moon

I haven’t written much about the Chinese lunar probe Chang’e 1, mostly because the Chinese haven’t said much about it. But I just learned that after a 16 month mapping mission, the probe was purposely dropped onto the lunar surface in a “controlled crash”. According to Emily’s sources, it crashed in Mare Fecunditatis, very close to the lunar Equator.

The Chinese still have big plans for exploration, including a manned landing on the Moon. This was a small step for them.

I’ll note that Emily says there are three extant orbiters around the Moon now that Chang’e 1 has ditched: Kaguya, a mini-orbiter released by Kaguya, and Chadrayaan-1. See anything interesting? Yeah, two are Japanese and the other Indian. Anything by the U.S.? Bueller? Bueller?

LRO launches in May, the first U.S. lunar probe in many years. I certainly hope it’s the first of a renaissance in lunar exploration… so that we can join the rest of the world.

Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to kashmirGoat on Twitter.