China’s Jade Rabbit lunar probe has become a social media phenomenon, as images of its landing and initial exploration were beamed to Earth and across social networks within minutes of the lander’s touchdown.
Film of the Apollo landings was broadcast live in 1969, but the images were vague, and came only from one fixed camera.
The Jade Rabbit and its Chang-e 3 lander have both beamed back photos of one another, already swiftly dubbed ‘selfies’, and film of the surface has been uploaded onto Youtube.
Actor and honorary rocket man William Shatner was amongst those who praised the achievement via Twitter.
And, in keeping with all good social media memes, the Jade Rabbit already has its own parody Twitter account.
Congratulations to China on their soft lunar landing and may your Jade Rabbit be the first of many small steps in the exploration of Space.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 14, 2013
— Jade Rabbit (@JadeRabbitRover) December 15, 2013