China Commissions Chang’e-4 Lander And Rover Toys To Celebrate Successful Lunar Mission

The Chang'e-4 toys are interactive, and were built to move and to light up.

3D illustration of the Chang’e-4 lander and the Yutu-2 rover on the surface of the moon.
Alejo Miranda / Shutterstock

The Chang'e-4 toys are interactive, and were built to move and to light up.

On January 2, China became the first nation to ever land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. This was the second successful moon landing for the National Space Administration (CNSA), which in 2013 landed the Yutu “Jade Rabbit” rover on the near side of the moon as part of the Chang’e-3 mission.

Its successor, Chang’e-4, managed to touch down within the Von Karman Crater near the lunar south pole, deploying a lander and a rover on the so-called “dark” side of the moon.

While the mission is still ongoing, it was officially declared a success on January 11, when the two probes sent back the first 360-degree panorama of their landing site within the massive South Pole‐Aitken Basin, as the Inquisitr reported at the time.

To celebrate the triumph of its current lunar mission, China has commissioned a series of toys depicting the four-legged Chang’e-4 lander and the six-wheeled Yutu-2 rover.

The mini-versions of the two spacecraft were created by the Maisto Tech toy company, which also issued a series of Yutu rover toys six years ago in honor of China’s Chang’e-3 lunar mission. Unlike the previous toy models — which were destined for museums and government exhibitions, Space reported last month — the Chang’e-4 toys are available to the public, and can be purchased for a price that has so far remained undisclosed.

Photos of the Chang’e-4 lander and rover toys were shared today by Space, much to the delight of space enthusiasts and parents alike. And the results are incredible.

For the purposes of this project, Maisto was granted exclusive rights by the China Lunar Exploration Project (CLEP) — the official designation of the Chang’e program — to design and manufacture the toys. If the Chang’e-3 versions were high-end replicas intended for display, these latest toys are meant to be interactive — and can move and even light up.

The new toys include two versions of the Yutu-2 rover — a 1:8-scale replica and a 1:16-scale model — as well as a 1:20 miniature of the Chang’e-4 lunar lander. The larger version of the lunar rover is motorized, and is equipped with an infrared sensor that allows it to detect obstacles in its path. Meanwhile, the smaller version was built to have sounds and lights.

The miniature versions of the Chang’e-4 lunar probes are very true to the original spacecraft that inspired them. Maisto has paid great attention to detail, and so the toys incorporate a large number of elements seen on the real lunar vehicles. For instance, the two rover models are fitted with deployable solar arrays and a communications antenna — and even have a camera mast.

Just like the real-life rover and lander, the toys have the flag of China emblazoned on their front. In addition, the toy models include the CLEP logo, alongside that of the Maisto Tech company.

“The Maisto Tech Chang’e 4 toys are the latest way that China has shared its lunar missions with the public. The country celebrated its previous moon-bound craft with coins, stamps and commemorative bank notes,” states Space.