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Six of Eight Instruments on China's Chang'e 3 activated

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A December 20, 2013 report in Moon Daily indicates that six out of the eight instruments included on the Chang’e 3 lunar mission have been activated and are functioning nominally. The exceptions are the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer, both of which are carried on the Jade Rabbit rover.

In addition to these instruments, Jade Rabbit is equipped with ground penetrating radar and a number of cameras. The Chang’e 3 has its own camera systems and an ultra violet lunar based telescope.

The Chinese are said to be so pleased with the success of the Chang’e 3 that they plan to upgrade the Chang’e 4, a similar lander and rover system, in preparation with 2017’s Chang’e 5, which will return soil and rock samples from the lunar surface.

China recently became the third country to land on the moon, after the United States and the old Soviet Union, with Chang’e 3’s touch down on the lunar surface on December 14. Shortly thereafter, the Jade Rabbit rover was deployed and is currently rolling across the lunar surface.

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