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The goddess, rabbit and other lunar tales: the folklore surrounding China’s moon exploration

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    10:00, January 11, 2019

China’s lunar exploration program has once again caught the world’s attention when last week its Chang'e 4 mission made the first ever soft-landing on the dark side of the moon. The mission released a lunar rover called Yutu 2, or Jade Rabbit 2, to map the moon’s inner structures, as well as analyzing soil and rock samples.

For centuries, Chinese people have been making endless efforts to explore the secrets of the moon. Wan Hu, a legendary Chinese official living in the middle of the Ming Dynasty (16th century), was said to be the world’s first “astronaut”, allegedly being lifted into outer space on a rocket chair. Though there is no historical evidence to support this tale, a crater on the far side of the moon was named after Wan by NASA.

China's desire to explore the moon has also made this natural satellite of the earth an important element of the country’s folklore. Like an encyclopedia of moon-related tales, China’s lunar exploration program contains deep cultural connotations. Follow our lead and embark on our Chinese folklore journey to the moon!


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(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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