Man enjoys surfing? So do swans! Person of 2013: Pope #1, Snowden #2; Legend Lady Chang'e and Jade Rabbit (solar-powered rover)
Mick Fanning at the Pipe Masters this week
Absolutely amazing: black swans frolicking off shore near Gold Coast, catching waves in and out
Forbes "Pope Francis Is Time's Person Of Year 2013; Snowden Is No. 2"
uk.Reuters - "He is a strange guy," Putin said of Snowden, "I don't get what he is thinking." "Basically he doomed himself to a pretty difficult life. What will he do next, I don't even imagine. But it's clear now that we won't give him away, he should feel safe here." Snowden flew to Moscow from Hong Kong in June and got stuck in the transit zone after US revoked his passport and urged countries not to let him pass.
CNN - China's first lunar rover deployed successfully from the unmanned spacecraft Chang'e-3 that landed on the moon Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) is a six-wheeled lunar rover equipped with at least four cameras and two mechanical legs that can dig up soil samples to a depth of 30 meters. The solar-powered rover will patrol the moon's surface, studying the structure of the lunar crust as well as soil and rocks, for at least three months. The robot's name was decided by a public online poll and comes from a Chinese myth about the pet white rabbit of a goddess, Chang'e, who is said to live on the moon.
Weighing 140 kilograms, the slow-moving rover carries an optical telescope for astronomical observations and a powerful ultraviolet camera that will monitor how solar activity affects the various layers -- troposphere, stratosphere and ionosphere -- that make up the Earth's atmosphere, China's information technology ministry said in a statement. The Jade Rabbit is also equipped with radioisotope heater units, allowing it to function during the cold lunar nights when temperatures plunge as low as -180°C (-292°F).
The moon exploration makes China one of only three nations -- after the United States and the former Soviet Union -- to "soft-land" on the moon's surface, and the first to do so in more than three decades.
Legend of Chang'e and Hou Yi
Long long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky. They burnt all the plants on the earth. People were dying. One day, a hero whose name was Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of them. All the people on the earth were saved.One day, the queen of heaven gave Hou Yi a bottle elixir that could make Hou Yi become an immortal, but the elixir was only efficacious for one person. Hou Yi did want to become an immortal, but he wanted to stay with his beautiful wife Chang'e more, so he didn't drink the elixir and asked his wife Chang'e to keep it for him.Hou Yi was becoming more and more famous after he shot down the nine suns and more and more men wanted Hou Yi to be their master. Most of them were accepted by Hou Yi.Not every student of Hou Yi had good morality. Feng Meng, one of his students, wanted to seize his elixir. One day, Hou Yi went hunting with his students, but Feng Meng pretended to be ill and stay at home. When making sure Hou Yi had gone he went to Hou Yi's house and tried to force Chang'e to give him the elixir. Chang'e knew she couldn't defeat Feng Meng so she drank the elixir immediately. The elixir made her become an immortal and fly higher and higher. Finally, she stopped on the moon.From then on, people often pray to Chang'e for fortune and safety. During the Mid-Autumn Festival they offer lots of foods to Chang'e.
Legend of The Jade Rabbit
This legend is considered to be an extension of Chang'e Flying to the Moon. It tells about three immortals who transformed themselves into pitiful old men. One day they met a fox, a monkey and a rabbit, and they begged for food. The fox and the monkey shared their food with the old men; but the rabbit, with nothing to share, jumped into a blazing fire to offer his own flesh instead. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's kindness that they sent it to live in the Moon Palace, where it became the Jade Rabbit. Chang'e, who lived alone after arriving in the moon, liked the Jade Rabbit at the first sight, and therefore kept it company. As the time went by, Chang'e and Jade Rabbit became inseparable friends. Hearing about the story of Chang'e and Hou Yi, the Jade Rabbit felt sympathetic to them and decided to make a special heavenly medicine, which could help Chang'e return to Earth. Unfortunately, the Jade Rabbit has still not been able to make it even though he has worked hard for thousands of years. Observing the moon on the Mid-Autumn Day carefully, we can still see the Jade Rabbit making his heavenly medicine.
*Update January 31, 2014*
[January 30, 2014] "Altogether it [the second time-lapse panoramic] shows Yutu at three different positions around the landing site and gives a real sense of how she is maneuvering around."
The imaging team then carefully matched these Yutu positions to precisely match with the terrain at each exact location. The team also adjusted the rover size and color balance to realistically show what it looks like to scale as its driving to the right on the right side of the lander.
The last position shows the Yutu rover heading off to the south and departing the landing site.
China's Chang'e 3 mission landed on the moon on Dec. 14 and are currently exploring the Mare Ibrium (Sea of Rains) region. The solar-powered rover is designed to last for at least two months, while the Chang'e 3 lander is expected to spend a year studying the moon's surface and monitoring the lunar environment.
The mission is China's first lunar landing mission and follows two earlier moon-orbiting missions using the Chang'e 1 and 2 spacecraft. The missions are named after the moon goddess Chang'e 3 in Chinese mythology. The Yutu rover (the name means "Jade Rabbit") is named for the rabbit pet of the Chang'e goddess.
[January 31, 2014] On Sunday, the rover said its "masters" - the space program's engineers, presumably - had found an abnormality in its control mechanism and were working through the night to fix it. It provided no details on what the problem was, but hinted that it was serious.
"Even so, I know I may not make it through this lunar night," it said, striking a somber note.
The Jade Rabbit began operating last month after making the first soft landing on the moon by a space probe, Chang'e 3, in 37 years. The moon lander is named after Chang'e, a mythical goddess of the moon, and the rover, after Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit" in English, the goddess' pet.
In the diary entry, the Jade Rabbit recounted its achievements in the 42 days it spent on the moon, saying it traveled more than 100 meters (110 yards) and collected a large amount of scientific data with a panoramic camera, radar and other equipment.
[January 31, 2014] The Jade Rabbit did not go quietly into that long lunar night.
"If I really cannot be fixed, when the time comes, I hope everyone will remember to help me comfort her," it said.
The rover was designed to roam the lunar surface for three months while surveying for natural resources and sending back data. Then it ran into problems as it was shutting down in preparation for the lunar night when the temperature drops to minus 180 degrees Celsius (minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit).
"The sun has already set here and the temperature is falling very quickly. I've said a lot today, yet still feel like it's not enough," the rover said in its concluding paragraphs. "I'll tell everyone a secret. Actually, I'm not feeling especially sad. Just like any other hero, I've only encountered a little problem while on my own adventure."
"Good night, planet earth. Good night, humanity."
Image courtesy spaceref.com, visitbeijing.com.cn, iwp.edu, and smh.com.au
- Super-moon ("perigee moon"), first of three expected in summer 2014, rising this moment, visible in the sky overnight
- Dedicated to Moon! What a royal trio Sun, Earth, Moon - Nature grants us no less than what mankind needs. Happy Lunar New Year!
- Lunar Years of Bunny see birth to Einstein, Confucius, Queen Victoria, Lewis Carroll, Curie, Keats, Depp, Norman Wisdom..
- 40 yrs ago: "we choose to go to the moon."It was hard. Now for mankind to keep Earth green, it's to be much harder
- To Nature: Lunar eclipse today, June 15, 2011 11:20am PDT, visible in skies of S America, Africa, Asia, Australia & Europe
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