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China Successfully Launches Its Lunar Lander Mission

The Chang'e-3 mission will be the first moon landing since 1976

3 min read
China Successfully Launches Its Lunar Lander Mission
Mini Moon Rover: The rover portion of the Chang’e-3 mission to the moon sports some onboard intelligence.
Photo: Getty Images

China’s moon lander is on its way. Today the Chinese space agency launched the lander into space aboard a Long March 3B rocket.

If all goes according to plan with the Chang’e-3 mission, the red flag of China will soon fly on the moon’s surface. The lander is expected to touch down on the lunar surface in about two weeks; then a rover will roll off the lander’s ramp and start making tracks in the regolith.

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Top Tech 2022: A Special Report

Preview two dozen exciting technical developments that are in the pipeline for the coming year

1 min read
Photo of the lower part of a rocket in an engineering bay.

NASA’s Space Launch System will carry Orion to the moon.

Frank Michaux/NASA

At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report

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