China took a significant step toward eventually landing a person on the moon with Monday’s successful launch of a rocket carrying its first moon rover, the “Jade Rabbit.”
The rocket blasted off from southwestern China at 1:30 a.m. Monday, a day after India’s maiden Mars orbiter left Earth’s orbit on its journey to the red planet, in what some observers characterize as Asia’s new space race.
China’s rocket is expected to deposit the rover in the right eye of the “Man in the Moon” in mid-December, specifically targeting a large volcanic crater known as the Sinus Iridum or Bay of Rainbows, thought to be relatively free of large rocks.
If successful, China will be the third country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, after the United States and Russia.
The last time an American set foot on the moon, I was three years old. Now that’s the age of my youngest child.