The Chang’e 3 (CE-3) mission was implemented as the first lander/rover mission of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP). After its successful launch at 01:30 local time on December 2, 2013, CE-3 was inserted into an eccentric polar lunar orbit on December 6, and landed to the east of a 430 m crater in northwestern Mare Imbrium (19.51°W, 44.12°N) at 21:11 on December 14, 2013. The Yutu rover separated from the lander at 04:35, December 15, and traversed for a total of 0.114 km. Acquisition of science data began during the descent of the lander and will continue for 12 months during the nominal mission. The CE-3 lander and rover each carry four science instruments. Instruments on the lander are: Landing Camera (LCAM), Terrain Camera (TCAM), Extreme Ultraviolet Camera (EUVC), and Moon-based Ultraviolet Telescope (MUVT). The four instruments on the rover are: Panoramic Camera (PCAM), VIS-NIR Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS), Active Particle induced X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), and Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR). The science objectives of the CE-3 mission include: (1) investigation of the morphological features and geological structures of and near the landing area; (2) integrated in-situ analysis of mineral and chemical composition of and near the landing area; and (3) exploration of the terrestrial-lunar space environment and lunar-based astronomical observations. This paper describes the CE-3 objectives and measurements that address the science objectives outlined by the Comprehensive Demonstration Report of Phase II of CLEP. The CE-3 team has archived the initial science data, and we describe data accessibility by the science community.
KeywordsMoon Lunar Spacecraft Mission design
We thank Julie Stopar for proofreading the manuscript that helped improve this paper and the two referees for their constructive comments.
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