Chinese scifi writers laud moon landing

BEIJING, Dec. 15 — The landing of China’s first moon rover on the lunar surface on Sunday morning has had the nation’s sci-fi writers cheering for fiction’s gradual unfolding into reality.
Chinese legend has it that Chang’e, the wife of a gallant archer, flew to the moon and resided in a lunar palace after drinking a medicine of longevity. The lunar goddess is said to have a jade rabbit as her companion.
That inspired the name of China’s moon rover, which emerged from the Chang’e-3 probe that soft-landed on the lunar surface late on Saturday.
While China has yet to land its own countryman on the moon, the Jade Rabbit brings the country a step closer to realizing a collective and romantic Chinese aspiration to explore the natural satellite.
Liu Cixin, one of China’s most celebrated sci-fi writers, said the most fantastic thing about this mission is seeing images captured and relayed to Earth by the Jade Rabbit rover.
“The entire landing process was executed without human intervention. It’s quite extraordinary that everything went smoothly,” said the computer engineer-turned writer, who was invited to watch the launch of the Chang’e probe at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center earlier this month.
In one of his sci-fi stories, Liu imagined a moon installed with solar panels, transferring energy back to the resource-tapped Mother Earth.
“But the real moon landing has better stories to tell than does science fiction,” he said.
The Chang’e-3 probe’s Saturday landing on the moon’s Bay of Rainbows came almost a decade after China announced its lunar probe initiative.
That initiative was launched on par with China’s growing scientific and technological prowess and has also provided opportunities to bring nearly a century of endless imagination about the moon to reality.
And China’s home-grown sci-fi stories have become a major driver of that imagination over the past 100 years.
In 1903, Chinese literary titan Lu Xun translated Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon” and proclaimed that the advancement of the Chinese nation begins in science fiction.
A year later, the nation’s first modern science fiction work, “Lunar Colony,” marked the beginning of generations of Chinese sci-fi writers’ lingering enchantment to the moon.
In “Lunar Colony,” a rebel against the late Qing Dynasty flew to the moon with his wife after a failed attempt to assassinate senior officials in the court.
According to Beijing-based sci-fi writer Fei Dao, the moon in the novel is no longer the residence of an ancient goddess, but a utopia for the rebels.
In some other stories of the same period, the moon became a place of great discoveries and a newfound land to address explosive population growth on Earth.
With the Jade Rabbit now roaming the moon, sending back images and data to help Chinese scientists better understand the satellite, many sci-fi writers say it marks a shift in how Chinese view themselves in the Universe.
“I think everything will look differently when a Chinese looks at Earth from the moon,” said Chen Qiufan. “I expect that day to come.”
Zhao Yang, an associate researcher with China Science and Technology Museum, added, “If humans are to build a museum of mankind’s lunar probe history, China’s first space vehicle to land on a celestial body other than the Earth will definitely have an important place in it.
“The Jade Rabbit rover and the Chang’e-3 probe could even stay where they are now and be sealed in glass for future moon tourists to admire.” 
Backgrounder: China’s “triple jump” progress in lunar probes
Backgrounder: Timeline of China’s lunar program
Special Report: China’s lunar explorations
Graphics: Launch procedure of Chang’e-3 lunar probe
Commentary: Chang’e-3’s soft landing marks China’s hard success

BEIJING, Dec. 14 — The moon Saturday saw a rare new visitor — lunar probe Chang’e-3 from China, the third country on earth which achieved a soft landing on it after theUnited Statesand the former Soviet Union.

The success also made China the first country that conducted a soft landing on Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, a lunar area that remains unstudied and silent for hundreds of millions of years, stamping new foot prints in the history of mankind’s lunar exploration. Full story
China’s Chang’e-3 lunar probe amazes world

BEIJING, Dec. 14 — China’s Chang’e-3, which includes its first lunar rover named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, has successfully soft landed on the Moon Saturday, fulfilling the long-awaited dream of moon landing of the Chinese nation.

Since the successful launching of Chang’e-3 mission early December, the Chang’e-3 lunar exploration program has been put in the spotlight. Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface, the whole world again marvels at China’s remarkable space capabilities and even extends their aspiration for space cooperation with China. Full story
Lunar mission: craft to conduct re-entry tests before 2015
BEIJING, March 14 — An experimental spacecraft will be launched before 2015 to conduct crucial re-entry tests on the capsule to be used in the Chang’e-5 lunar-sample mission, a leading space program official said.
Chang’e-5 is expected to be China’s first lunar explorer to return to Earth. The mission will be carried out before 2020.Full story
Chinese probe reaches record height in space travel
BEIJING, July 14 — China’s space probe Chang’e-2 has flew to an outer space about 50 million km from the Earth, marking a new height in the nation’s deep space exploration, Chinese scientists said on Sunday.
The probe, which is now “in good conditions”, reached the height at around 1 a.m. Sunday Beijing Time, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence — A chief designer with China’s second lunar probe project has said that the country’s lunar pursuit, while lagging behind Russia and the United States for more than 40 years, is still important because space exploration is part of the country’s responsibility towards mankind.
“The most fundamental task for human beings’ space exploration is to research on human origins and find a way for mankind to live and develop sustainably,” said Qian Weiping, chief designer of the Chang’e-2 mission’s tracking and control system.Full story
China calls for int’l cooperation in manned space program
BEIJING, June 26 — A Chinese astronaut research and training official Wednesday called for international cooperation to promote the development of manned space technologies.
China has long been pushing for international cooperation in manned space program under the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, as well as of transparency and opening, said Deng Yibing, director of China Astronaut Research and Training Center.Full story

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