Video: Chang’E-3 / Jade Rabbit Lands on the Moon

Yesterday, the Chang’E-3 and Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover landed on the Moon. Today, the Chinese Space Agency released this video of the descent sequence, taken from the landing camera on the Chang’E-3 spacecraft. Behold:

Some cool bits to note: At 2:50, the spacecraft begins to rotate itself so that it’s underside points downward toward the lunar surface. At 5:00, the descent stops and hovers above the surface. At 5:30, you can see the spacecraft has adjusted itself to avoid an obstacle and then continues its descent. A little while later, we’re picking up some dust and we’ve landed!

What’s really amazing is that all of this was accomplished autonomously, with no assistance from the ground. How cool is that?

The lunar landing sequence of Chang'e-3 on Dec. 14, 2013. (Xinhua/Zheng Yue)
The lunar landing sequence of Chang’e-3 on Dec. 14, 2013. (Xinhua/Zheng Yue)

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